Congressmen Rack Up Miles, On Your Tab

Members of the House get a special privilege most other Americans don't: a car, paid for by taxpayers.

So given rising gas prices, stagnant fuel reserves and an ailing U.S. economy, are congressional representatives cutting back? Not exactly, The New York Times reports.

In the New York region, only one congressman drives a hybrid on the taxpayers' dollar, Rep. Michael McNulty, D-N.Y. His car of choice is a 2007 Mercury Mariner hybrid, although at $816 a month and 25 miles per gallon, the SUV is hardly a bargain.

The Times reports there is no limit on what a congressman can spend on their car, and there are few restrictions. Gas, maintenance, insurance, registration and excess mileage on lease deals are all covered for the lawmakers. About 125 House members take advantage of the perk.

Lawmakers have tended toward the more luxurious in their car choice, although representatives said they also considered space, safety and reliability in their vehicles.

Among those who participate in the program, Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., drives a 2004 Cadillac DeVille; Rep Charlie Melancon, D-La., a 2007 Chevy Tahoe; Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., a 2007 Lincoln Navigator; and Rep. Jim Saxton, R-N.J., a 2004 Chevy TrailBlazer.

Click here to read the rull report in The New York Times.