New York, NY — America's largest city has the largest hybrid bus fleet and is pioneering the use of hybrid taxis
How do you get to Carnegie Hall? In a hybrid taxi. Or you could hop on a hybrid bus. That's right, America's largest city boasts the largest hybrid bus fleet in the country, and is pioneering the use of hybrid taxis. New York City is a national leader in municipal environmental policy and one of the most energy efficient cities in the United States.
And it's only going to get better. The car of choice for NYC's taxicab fleet is Ford's Crown Victoria, which generally gets only 12 miles to the gallon in Manhattan traffic.
Hybrid cars can get triple the gas mileage while releasing one-third of the greenhouse gas emissions. Hybrid taxis could save the average cabdriver more than $20,000 in gas costs over five years and reduce global warming pollutants by at least 50 percent.
"If you converted the entire fleet of New York City taxicabs to hybrids," says Mark Izeman, a lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council, "it would be the equivalent of taking 24,000 cars off the road, from a global warming perspective."
The auto industry is taking notice of the increased demand with the following makes and models on the market right now: 2006 Ford Escape Hybrid, 2006 Mercury Mariner Hybrid, 2006 Toyota Highlander Hybrid, 2006 Toyota Prius, 2006 Honda Civic hybrid, 2006 Honda Accord hybrid, and the 2006 Lexus RX 400H.
Over 60% of oil in the USA is used for transportation. In NYC, smarttransportation.org lead a campaign for new legislation from the City Council, signed by the Mayor and implemented by the Taxi Commission to convert taxis to hybrid vehicles.
Smarttransportation.org has lead reform in San Francisco, Chicago and NYC with many other cities and taxis drives and fleets converting to hybrid taxis and to receive federal and state incentives.
According to the New York City Taxis and Limousine Commission, each New York taxi averages nearly 100,000 miles of driving annually. So, the fuel savings for drivers and operators could reach the thousands of dollars every year. That savings could enable hybrid owners to recover the premium cost of the technology within the first year on the road. 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.