May 23, 2007

New York taxi fleet to be fully hybrid by 2012

Ford Escape Hybrid taxi
Ford Escape Hybrid taxi. Click image to enlarge

New York, New York – New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday announced that the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) will implement new emissions and mileage standards for yellow taxicabs that will lead to a fully hybrid fleet by 2012. The new standards will be phased in over a four-year period, reducing the carbon emissions of New York City’s taxicab and for-hire vehicle fleet by 50 per cent during the next decade, and saving individual operators an average of US$10,000 per year in fuel costs.

Concurrent with the announcement, Internet company Yahoo! donated ten hybrid taxicabs to fleet operator Team Systems in recognition of the city’s intent to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The announcement is part of the mayor’s PlaNYC, a series of 127 proposals aimed at helping New York meet the challenges of adding nearly one million people to the city’s population by 2030, while at the same time reducing the city’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent.

“In PlaNYC, we set aggressive goals for the taxicab industry and today we’re going to begin meeting those goals,” says Bloomberg. “Implementing tougher standards for the more than 13,000 taxis in this city will provide the same clean air benefit as removing 32,000 privately-owned cars from our streets, which will significantly reduce the air pollution that causes childhood asthma. This will also decrease the fuel costs for taxi drivers, making this a win for the public and operators alike.”

The mayor’s office says that the Ford Crown Victoria, the current workhorse of the taxicab fleet, achieves only 14 mpg US (16.8 L/100 km). After October 2008, all new vehicles entering the fleet must achieve a minimum of EPA city rating of 25 mpg US (9.4 L/100 km). After October 2009, all new vehicles must achieve a minimum of 30 mpg US (7.8 L/100 km). When fully implemented, the new standards are expected to reduce carbon emissions by more than 215,000 tons.

The new fuel standards will be accompanied by clear guidelines for evaluating the vehicle’s emissions performance, and for new vehicle specifications that will ensure both passenger comfort and driver safety. Wheelchair-accessible taxicabs being brought into service will be exempt from the fuel economy requirements.

Currently there are only 375 hybrid vehicles in the city’s taxi fleet. By October 2008 there will be 1,000 hybrid vehicles; by 2009, 4,000 hybrids, or 30 per cent of the fleet; by 2010, 7,000 hybrids, or 53 per cent of the fleet; by 2011, 10,000 cars, or 76 per cent of the fleet; and all yellow taxicabs must be hybrid by October 2012.

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