Tuesday, May 22, 2007

NYC Taxis To All Be Hybrids By 2012

The Wall Street Journal has an article today discussing New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg's mandate that all NYC taxicabs will be hybrid vehicles by 2012. According to the article, less than 3% of NYC's roughly 13,000 cabs are currently hybrids.

Excerpt: City officials said the new standards, when fully implemented, are expected to reduce carbon emissions by more than 200,000 tons per year. Hybrid vehicles are typically more expensive, but the city said the increase in fuel efficiency will save taxi operators more than $10,000 per year.

When I read that, I wondered why more taxis aren't already hybrids. Savings of $10,000 per year? That looks like a no-brainer investment. Sure, you'd have to spring for a new car. But you'd get significant savings pretty quickly. There must be plenty of savvy financial institutions in NYC that would fund that kind of investment.

The New York Times also has an article on the matter. They raise the point that the car that now dominates NYC taxi fleets, the Ford Crown Victoria, has significantly more leg room for passengers than any of the approved hybrids. Maybe that's a reason for slow uptake of hybrids to this point.

There are apparently six hybrid models that can be used as taxis in NYC: Ford Escape, Toyota Highlander, Lexus RX 400H, Toyota Prius, Honda Accord, and Honda Civic.

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