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 May 23, 2007
New York City Taxi Fleet to Go Hybrid by 2012

 New York, USA -- The yellow cabs that the Big Apple is so famous for will soon get quite a bit greener -- 50 percent greener, by Mayor Bloomberg's estimate.

Bloomberg announced a new program yesterday that will replace all of the 13,000 taxis licensed to operate in the city with hybrid vehicles over the next four years. The switch will reduce the carbon emissions of the fleet by 50 percent in the next decade, and save taxi operators about $10,000 a year in fuel costs.

The program is the latest step in Bloomberg's PlaNYC initiative, first announced on Earth Day 2007, a series of 127 proposals aimed at helping New York meet the challenges of adding nearly one million people to the City's population between now and 2030, while at the same time reducing the City's greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent.

"In PlaNYC, we set aggressive goals for the taxicab industry and today we're going to begin meeting those goals," Bloomberg said. "Implementing tougher standards for the more than 13,000 taxis in this City will provide the same clean air benefits as removing 32,000 privately owned cars from our streets, which will significantly reduce the air pollution that causes childhood asthma."

To kick-start the program, internet company Yahoo donated 10 hybrid taxicabs to NYC taxi operator Team Systems.

The Ford Crown Victoria, the current workhorse of the taxicab fleet, achieves only 14 miles per gallon on average. After October 2008, all new vehicles entering the fleet must achieve a minimum of 25 mpg (based on EPA city surface street ratings), and after October 2009, all new vehicles must achieve a minimum of 30 mpg. When fully implemented, the new standards are expected to reduce carbon emissions by more than 215,000 tons.

Currently there are only 375 hybrid vehicles in the City's taxi fleet. By October 2008, the number of hybrids in the fleet will triple. The phase-in for the City fleet to become completely hybrid is as follows:
  • October 2008 -- 1000 yellow hybrid taxicabs;
  • October 2009 -- 4000 yellow hybrid taxicabs (30 percent of the fleet)
  • October 2010 -- 7000 yellow hybrid taxicabs (53 percent of the fleet)
  • October 2011 -- 10000 yellow hybrid taxicabs (76 percent of the fleet)
  • October 2012 -- all yellow taxicabs will be hybrid (100 percent of the fleet)
"We expect these new standards will save 22 million gallons of fuel in the first year, and that is only the beginning of what we will be able to accomplish," said Taxi and Limousine Commissioner Matthew Daus. "The environmental meter is running, and our efforts are paying the fare for a healthier tomorrow."

In addition to the PlaNYC speech on Earth Day, New York City hosted the historic C-40 Large Cities Summit last week. During a keynote address to the Summit on Tuesday, Mayor Bloomberg announced that New York is joining the Climate Group, and on Wednesday he announced that New York City would participate in an initiative sponsored by the Clinton Foundation to reduce carbon emissions from buildings.