Italy Cuts Government Waste By Selling 1,500 Luxury Cars On eBay

If you've been just dying to pick up a used Lancia Thesis driven by an Italian government official, now is the time to act! Italy is selling off some 150 luxury cars purchased by the government in an attempt to curb wasteful spending.

The BBC reports that Prime Minister Matteo Renzi thinks state-purchased official vehicles have come to be seen as a symbol of wasteful government spending, so he's selling them off. About 1,500 cars eventually, including BMWs, Jaguars and Alfa Romeos and Lancias.

As The Economist reported a few years back, being an Italian a government official means you get a pretty sweet ride on the taxpayers' dime. In 2010 they had a fleet of a fleet of 629,000 official cars, 10 times the number in similar European countries. Locally, they're known as "auto blu" for their dark blue and and black coloring and ever-present police escorts.

One defense minister once argued against cuts to the cars by saying that, hey, at least his Maserati Quattroporte is cheaper than a German car! I'm guessing he wasn't talking about Golfs.

Italy is so flush with fancy government cars that Renzi had to do the same thing when he was mayor of Florence.

In one of his first posts as the Democratic Party secretary, Renzi tweeted: "Why should an undersecretary have an official car? The undersecretary should go by foot," the newspaper says.

God, that's such a European thing to say. Just walk, dammit!

I personally applaud this move, because when you check the cars listed on eBay at the moment, none of them are cheap econoboxes. There are quite a few 5-Series Bimmers, Lancias and Alfas for sale at the moment. There's no excuse for this kind of waste with taxpayer dollars, er, Euros.

Now if anyone needs me, I'll be trying to snatch up that Lancia Thesis I never wanted until right now.

Hat tip to Darragh McKenna!