McCain outlines plan to make federal government buildings, auto fleet energy efficient

.SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) – Republican John McCain said Tuesday the federal government should practice the energy efficiency he preaches, pledging as president to switch official vehicles to green technologies and do the same for office buildings.

Expanding upon his ideas to address the nation’s energy crisis, the Arizona senator also called for a redesign of the national power grid so power is better distributed where it’s needed and the country has the capacity to run electric vehicles that he wants automakers to supply.

“Our federal government is never shy about instructing the American people in good environmental practice. But energy efficiency, like charity, should begin at home,” McCain said before conducting an energy round-table at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

McCain drives a 2003 Cadillac CTS, a sedan the Environmental Protection Agency says gets 16 to 24 miles per gallon and emits about 9.6 tons of greenhouse gases annually. When campaigning, he’s ferried by the Secret Service using a fleet of Chevrolet Suburbans, a full-size SUV the EPA estimates gets 12 to 20 mpg and emits 9 to 13 tons of greenhouse gases.

Among those on the panel was Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a McCain backer who opposes a major element of the candidate’s energy strategy – ending a decades-old federal ban on offshore drilling. McCain has said he would leave the decision to the states if the moratorium is lifted.