Riley's Ride

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Unlike some governors, Alabama's Bob Riley has kept using a large state-provided sports utility vehicle since gas prices rose to the three-dollar per gallon range.

Today, for an appearance in Birmingham, Riley arrived in a black Chevrolet Tahoe. In the past, he has also used a black Ford Expedition. The vehicles are equipped with special emergency and communications equipment.

Riley's spokesman, Jeff Emerson, declined to discuss brand names, citing security reasons, but said the Republican governor traditionally travels in a large SUV.

Riley's predecessor, Democrat Don Siegelman, also used a large SUV -- often a Mercedes M-Class in recognition of the Mercedes assembly plant in Vance.

Prior to sports utility vehicles becoming popular, Alabama governors used full-size sedans, usually a Ford LTD.

In recent weeks, the governors of Florida and New Mexico decided
to give up their large SUVs and replace them with the Ford Escape