From Green Car Congress, news that New York City’s plan to introduce hybrid taxi cabs has become a reality:
New York City’s first hybrid taxis—a mini-fleet of six Ford Escape hybrids—officially entered operation today with a ceremony in midtown Manhattan where officials from government, advocacy groups and industry gathered for the send off.
Since 1907, only gasoline-powered taxis have worked NYC streets. Thanks to the “Clean Air Taxis Act” and new TLC (Taxi and Limousine Commission) regulations implemented this past summer, New York’s cab drivers are now free to choose from seven gas-electric hybrid models.
Seven out of 10 New Yorkers in a poll conducted last summer by the Coalition Advocating for Smart Transportation (CAST), a major force behind the change in regulation allowing the hybrid taxis, said New York taxis should be converted to hybrids sooner than later.
The change in city policy was prompted by growing public concern over New York’s air quality—ranked as the third worst among the country’s cities in 2004.
Of course, one of the problems with buying a hybrid is cost, and for the average driver, fuel savings won’t offset the higher sticker price for several years. In the case of the taxis, which average about 100,000 miles per year, that offset could occur in the first year of driving. Congrats to the greener Big Apple!