After turning yellow taxis green, New York City is now announcing that it wants to make black cars greener. There are currently about 10,000 of these large sedans (mostly Lincoln Town Cars) that primarily service corporate clients and they emit 272,000 tons of CO2 equivalents annually, not to mention smog-forming emissions. Michael Bloomberg, New York's mayor, wants to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by half and at the same time improve air quality.
Currently, most black cars average 12-15 miles per gallon (15-20 liters/100 km). Under the new Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) regulation, they would need to get 25 mpg (9.4 liter/100 km) in 2009 and 30 mpg (7.8 liter/100 km) in 2010. "Many black cars line up, idling in front of office buildings in Midtown and Lower Manhattan awaiting customers. With hybrid powertrains, the engines will shut down instead. [...] Hybrid cars will save owner-operator drivers upwards of $5,000 per year in gasoline expenses—approximately 50% of their current fuel costs. These savings will allow drivers to cover, in just one year, the additional cost of purchasing a new hybrid car over the currently used Lincoln Town Car."
Also included in the proposed rule change is a requirement for vehicle retirement. The TLC currently does not set a vehicle retirement age for for-hire vehicles like it does for the yellow taxis. There will be a retirement phase-in cycle that will ensure almost all vehicles associated with black car bases are more fuel-efficient by 2013.
The Mayor’s Office of Long-term Planning and Sustainability and the TLC have identified several efficient vehicle models that will have widespread acceptance, including:
- Toyota Camry Hybrid, 33 mpg (city)
- Toyota Highlander Hybrid, 27 mpg (city)
- Nissan Altima Hybrid, 35 mpg (city)
- Mercury Mariner Hybrid FWD, 34 mpg (city)
In addition, other models may include: Lexus Rx400h AWD, Ford Escape Hybrid AWD (we assume that the Escape hybrid FWD is accepted, as it is almost exactly the same as the Mariner hybrid FWD), and Toyota Prius (strange that it isn't in the list above - maybe because of its dimensions).
Or you can always do like Mayor Bloomberg and take the subway...
See also: ::Hybrid Taxis Finally Arrive in New York City, ::Hybrid Taxis in New York- If they Make it there, They'll make it Anywhere., ::Electric Taxis Coming to NYC?, ::More Hybrid Taxis Coming to NYC, ::Hybrid Taxi Bill Passed by NY City Council