December 2005

New Yorkers hail fuel-efficient cab of the future

New York, NY— The greening of the iconic New York yellow taxi officially began as New Yorkers met the first mini-fleet of hybrid taxicabs – six Ford Escape Hybrids.

The historic occasion was marked by a ceremony in New York, where officials from government, advocacy groups and industry gathered to send off the hybrid taxis in midtown Manhattan.

Since 1907, only gasoline-powered taxis have worked New York City streets. Thanks to the “Clean Air Taxis Act” and new TLC regulations implemented this past summer, New York’s cab drivers are now free to choose from seven gas-electric hybrid models.

Hybrid vehicles pollute less and can achieve twice the city gas mileage of the current standard New York cab. The two-wheel-drive version of the Escape Hybrid achieves 36 miles per gallon in city driving, close to 500 miles per tank of gas, allowing cabbies to go an entire shift without filling up.

The change in city policy was prompted by public concern over New York’s air quality - ranked as the third worst in the country.

Seven out of 10 New Yorkers in a poll conducted by CAST last summer said New York taxis should be converted to hybrids sooner than later.

According to the New York City Taxi 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.

“It’s a no-brainer,” says Evgeny Friedman, the co-owner of Taxi Club Management Inc., in Brooklyn. Friedman purchased 18 of the first 27 hybrid medallions auctioned last October by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission.

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