March 20th, 2013
09:32 AM ET
1 year ago

Presidential limo breaks down ahead of Obama's arrival

Jerusalem (CNN) - An official limousine awaiting President Barack Obama's arrival in Israel malfunctioned Wednesday but the Secret Service now says the reason for the mechanical problem had nothing to do with the type of fuel used, as first reported.

"The appropriate gas was put in the car," Ed Donovan, spokesman for the Secret Service, told CNN.

Citing an official in the region, CNN reported, as did other media outlets, that the vehicle had been filled with gasoline instead of diesel fuel. At the time, the Secret Service did not waive reporters off the idea that the car had the wrong fuel.

Donovan said the vehicle actually doesn't have a diesel engine and runs on unleaded gasoline. The Secret Service is generally tight-lipped about details of the president's limousine, otherwise known as "The Beast."

Because the vehicle was built on a Chevrolet Kodiak chassis, whose engine runs on diesel fuel, it was believed that the limo also ran on diesel.

The Secret Service says the diagnostics are still ongoing.

However, an Israeli official adamantly stands by the story that the limousine was filled with the wrong type of fuel.

The limo failed to start, and required towing in Jerusalem at 10 a.m. local time. Obama, who landed in Tel Aviv around noon, was not in the country at the time the limo was towed. A second presidential limo was brought to transport Obama.

"We experienced mechanical trouble with one of the cars," Donovan told a pool reporter traveling with Obama earlier Wednesday. "We don't know the cause."

"That's why we bring different multiple vehicles," Donovan said.

The tow truck company owner who picked up the limo said the U.S. consulate called him to tow the vehicle in Jerusalem because it wouldn't start.

Multiple official vehicles are typically flown ahead of time to destinations where Obama is visiting. On his trip to the Mideast, Obama will stop in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in Israel, Ramallah in the West Bank, and will visit with Jordan's King Abdullah in that nation.

The presidential limousine is a specially built Cadillac that's estimated to weigh 8 tons. There are multiple, identical copies that are used to transport Obama around Washington and on his trips out of town.

The car reportedly features inches of armor and bulletproof glass, doors and windows that seal shut in the event of a gas attack, and special shocks to absorb blasts.

– CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.


Filed under: Israel • President Obama
soundoff (230 Responses)
  1. chester Davis

    I think he needs a new driver or put a label on the gas cap that says diesel fuel only LOL The funny things that happen when you travel over seas

    March 20, 2013 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  2. Jev Marshall

    This is Bull! According to CIA whatever fuel is not taken with them the 'ahead team' checks/test days before arrival and seals it. Some tampering going on here. Come on home Mr. Pres.

    March 20, 2013 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  3. m

    nice going knucklehead....i know someone who put diesel in a gas car she actually forced the diesel nozzle into tank

    March 20, 2013 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  4. jpmichigan

    Is this ANOTHER SEQUESTER MOMENT, by the Democrats? The stupidity of Mr. Reid , who encouraged the sequester, along with fellow Democrats and White House , had the gull to suggest that the crash that killed 7 American soldiers was caused by the sequester. Those who push for the sequester are now stupidly using it to justify their stupidity in being unable to make good choices in spending cuts!

    March 20, 2013 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  5. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Gas instead of diesel happens more often than we'd like with some of our customers.
    The driver in charge of transporting one of the world's most powerful men should've been on top of his game.

    March 20, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  6. Sniffit

    It's so hard to find good help these days?

    March 20, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  7. GOP = Greed Over People

    Oops, seems like someone will be permanently "furloughed", but not due to sequester.

    March 20, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  8. GOP = Greed Over People

    And for all you cons, now you know why two of them always travel with the Prez and it did not start with the first black one.

    March 20, 2013 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  9. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Sounds like a delibarate act of sabotage to me.

    March 20, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  10. critical thinking

    Yeah when you do all that air transporting of limos for vacations, golf outings and the occasional diplomatic trips, the gas tanks can condense water from the cold temperature and effect the performance of the vehicle. Nice to see our tax dollars being used for govt purposes this time.

    March 20, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  11. MaryM

    @critical thinking, Bachmann, is that you?

    March 20, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Yeah when you do all that air transporting of limos for vacations, golf outings and the occasional diplomatic trips, the gas tanks can condense water from the cold temperature and effect the performance of the vehicle. Nice to see our tax dollars being used for govt purposes this time.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Hey! Geeniuz!! Read the article FIRST! Then hate!
    They put gasoline instead of diesel.
    You're quite the joke with your ridiculous self. A bad joke at that.

    March 20, 2013 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  13. Joi Gibson

    Oops! Somebody is in big, BIG trouble. I am sure the driver will be the laughing stock for quite some time.

    March 20, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  14. Charlie Daniels

    Damn GOP and their sequester!! It is all their fault:)

    March 20, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    Another non story feeding, CNN?

    March 20, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  16. Josh King

    Boy, those budget cuts are affecting everything!

    March 20, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  17. Don't know what he says

    I think there is a certain driver looking at the help wanted ads in Israel today.

    March 20, 2013 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  18. Not Good

    This is troubling to say the least.No one should be fueling that car that isn't familiar enough to know it uses diesel.We all need to say a prayer for our Presidents safety.

    March 20, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  19. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Humm,
    You would think that thing would ge gassed (Deiseled) up before it ever lefe th e (Launch) pad.

    March 20, 2013 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  20. Wake up People!

    Yeah, yeah I know. Obama should have filled the tank himself......
    This was orchestrated by Obama to get attention.....
    Why is he over there when he should be coming up with a budget?? Mitt would NEVER had done that.

    I can hear the hatred now.......

    March 20, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  21. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Is this ANOTHER SEQUESTER MOMENT, by the Democrats? The stupidity of Mr. Reid ... "

    Mr. Reid had nothing to do with the driver who apparently doesn't know his Israeli gasoline from his Israeli diesel. Kind of reminds me of all you GOPers who have no idea how the sequester ... works.

    March 20, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  22. critical thinking

    If you think the secret service lets anyone near these limos you are an idiot. They bring everything they need and only use what they bring. This story is bogus as to the reasoning, so don't be stupid and believe it little Obama sheep.

    March 20, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  23. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    And what does this have to do with the price of tea in China?

    March 20, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  24. doverby

    Someone is out of a job now...

    March 20, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  25. Steve- Illinois

    Another competent government worker. Bet he got his furlough notice yesterday.

    March 20, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10