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Mayor Bloomberg Announces Taxi Fleet to be Fully Hybrid by 2012

Mayor Michael R Bloomberg today announced that as part of PlaNYC, the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) will implement new emissions and mileage standards for yellow taxicabs that will lead to a fully hybrid fleet by 2012 - the largest, cleanest fleet of taxis on the planet. The new standards will be phased in over a four-year period and will reduce the carbon emissions of New York City's taxicab and for-hire vehicle fleet by 50% during the next decade, and will also save individual operators an average of $10,000 a year in fuel costs. Also today, internet giant Yahoo! donated 10 hybrid taxicabs to fleet operator Team Systems in recognition of New York's leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Mayor was joined at the announcement by TLC Commissioner Matthew W. Daus, Councilmember David Yassky, Yahoo! Network Division Vice President of Marketing Patrick Crane, American Lung Association President Louise Vetter, and other industry and regulatory leaders.

"In PlaNYC, we set aggressive goals for the taxicab industry and today we're going to begin meeting those goals," said Mayor Bloomberg. "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. This will also decrease the fuel costs for taxi drivers, making this a win for the public and operators alike. I'd like to thank Yahoo! for their commitment to the environment and for recognizing our efforts in addressing global warming by donating these cabs."

On Earth Day, Mayor Bloomberg outlined PlaNYC, 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%. The Ford Crown Victoria, the current workhorse of the taxicab fleet, achieves only 14 miles per gallon ( mpg ). 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% of the fleet)
  • October 2010 - 7000 yellow hybrid taxicabs (53% of the fleet)
  • October 2011 - 10000 yellow hybrid taxicabs (76% of the fleet)
October 2012 - all yellow taxicabs will be hybrid ( 100% 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 TLC Commissioner Daus. "Thanks to Mayor Bloomberg's bold vision laid out in PlaNYC, the New York City taxi fleet's carbon footprint will be lighter than at any point in its 100-year history. The environmental meter is running, and our efforts are paying the fare for a healthier tomorrow. We appreciate Yahoo!'s support and their gift of ten clean, green taxicabs."

It is estimated that increasing fuel efficiency from 14 mpg to 30 mpg will save the average taxi operator more than $10,000 per year. The new fuel efficiency standards will be accompanied by clear guidelines for evaluating the vehicles emissions performance, and for new vehicle specifications that will ensure both passenger comfort and driver safety. Wheelchair accessible taxicabs being brought into service will be exempt from the new fuel economy requirements.

"In the face of climate change, the old ways of doing things are no longer good enough. Mayor Bloomberg's PlaNYC is an absolutely essential step toward reversing course on climate change and air quality, and I will work as hard as I can to help turn the Mayor's plan into reality," said Councilmember David Yassky. "I applaud Mayor Bloomberg for acting now to turn New York City taxi cabs from part of the problem into part of the solution. New York City's 13,000 taxi cabs will still be yellow on the outside, but soon they will be green on the inside."

As part of its "Be a Better Planet" program, Yahoo! donated ten hybrid Ford Escape taxicabs to operator Team Systems. The cabs will be used to replace gasoline-only powered Ford Crown Victoria vehicles, saving tens of thousands of gallons of fuel over a taxicab's service lifetime, and reducing carbon emissions by more than 16 tons per vehicle each year. The vehicles being donated today get approximately 36 mpg (city streets). Yahoo! kicked off the "Be a Better Planet Challenge" in Times Square last week.

"Yahoo! applauds Mayor Bloomberg's aggressive PlaNYC initiative to build a greener, greater New York City," said Patrick Crane, vice president of marketing, Yahoo! Network Division. "As a company focused on protecting the environment, we found it only fitting to award New York with a fleet of hybrid taxis as part of our 'Be a Better Planet' campaign, which gives people across the country specific ways to take green actions in their hometowns. We challenge other cities across America to follow New York's example as Yahoo! searches for the greenest city in America."

"Putting more clean cabs on New York City streets is an important step in our fight to improve air quality, especially for the one million asthmatics in our city," said Louise Vetter, President and CEO of the American Lung Association of the City of New York. "By turning our yellow cabs green, we can put New York City miles ahead on the road to clean air."

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.

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