New York and the Green Taxi Act

Wed, 2010-07-28 06:48

New York City Fuel Efficient TaxiNew York City has an innovative program to improve its ground level air quality by improving the fuel efficiency of the city's 10,000+ taxi fleet. Since New York's Taxis generally run 16-24 hours per day even a small improvement in miles per gallon would have a great impact.

This program was no small improvement - it was a massive 150% improvement! The city’s effort to force the changeover from the ubiquitous Ford Crown Victorias, which get 12 to 14 miles a gallon, to hybrids and other cleaner cars that get much better mileage dates to 2007, when the city issued a rule that all cabs put into service beginning October 2009 achieve at least 30 city miles per gallon.

Unfortunately, the federal courts have blocked the rules saying that under the federal Clean Air Act and the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act, only the federal government could set fuel economy standards.

Wow! The irony that two laws intended to improve energy efficiency and the environment are now being used as a basis to block progress. Additionally, I can't help but think how much of the cities time and money have been invested in fighting this issue in court. I'm also surprised that no concerned citizens of New York City have started boycotting the non-hybrid cabs. Maybe consumers can force the taxi and limosine commission to do what the city isn't allowed to do.