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NYC's Yellow Cab Fleet To Go Green

By malan     May 22, 2007 in Environment
Mayor Michael Bloomberg announces NYC's entire yellow taxi fleet will move to hybrid vehicles in the next 5 years. 400 hybrid taxis already put into use.
"There's an awful lot of taxicabs on the streets of New York City," Bloomberg said. "These cars just sit there in traffic sometimes, belching fumes.
Bloomberg's plan states that over the next five years New York will completely replace it's taxi fleet with hybrid vehicles. Around 400 hybrids have already been tested in the city over the past year. Toyota Prius, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, the Lexus RX 400h and the Ford Escape were all used in the tests. BY 2008 the number should rise to around 1000 hybrid cabs in the city and continue to rise by around 20% a year until 2012 when all 13,000 cabs driving through the city will be a hybrid.
The move, after it's announcement seems like a no brainer and hopefully will inspire other cities to take action as well. Not only will this hybrid installation reduce the amount of emission it will also help achieve higher gas mileage per gallon which means more money saved by the cab companies.
Cost vs. Cost Savings
The vehicles currently in use by the yellow cab service, a Ford Crown Victoria gets about 14 miles to the gallon as compared to the Ford Escape that boasts a whopping 36 miles per gallon. All new vehicles used in this new initiative will be required to get at least 25 miles to the gallon so that even the minimum requirement is still a drastic improvement.
Although the hybrid vehicles cost more than normal cars the fuel efficiency could save taxi operators over $10K per year, so in 3-4 years the cars would virtually pay for themselves. Yahoo Inc. has also decided to pitch in and is donating 10 hybrid Ford Escapes to the city.
Fernando Mateo, president of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers said his organization supports the move to hybrid vehicles stating "In the short term, they're going to have to spend more money, but in the long run they will save money."
Environmental improvements
The new hybrids will help the city achieve it's goal of a 30% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. The new cars will emit less harmful materials into the air and help improve the quality of air for all in the city. Alot of the time cabs are just sitting around waiting for someone to get in and pouring harmful emissions into the air. These new cars could eliminate that problem.
This could be the first step in the right direction for New York and the entire nation. If this movement is successful and catches on it could stand to help make major improvements to air quality in large cities like LA, Chicago, NY and other highly trafficked areas. Bravo!
There is little to no reason why the U.S. is not stopping the production of gas-guzzling monster cars and creating opportunities for us to buy more efficient and earth friendly vehicles. Making this switch could single handedly change the path of destruction we're currently on.
The only ones who would stand to lose are the oil companies and car manufacturers who both have strong governmental ties... which could act as a blockade to progress in this area... but here's hoping for the best.
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