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HYBRID TAXIS HIT NYC
STREETS: NEW YORKERS HAIL FUEL-EFFICIENT CAB OF THE FUTURE
The greening of the iconic New York yellow
taxi officially begins at 11 a.m. on Thursday as New Yorkers meet
the first mini-fleet of hybrid taxicabs six Ford Escape
Hybrids. Ford was the first American auto manufacturer to
introduce a hybrid vehicle.
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
"I want to congratulate everyone
involved for putting this innovative hybrid technology on the
streets of New York City," says Ford Chairman and CEO Bill
Since 1907, only gasoline-powered taxis
have worked NYC 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. These hybrid taxis will help clear the air for riders,
provide a big gas-savings lifeline for their drivers and lessen
America's dependence on foreign oil.
"New York City is now the first major
city to deploy hybrid cabs on a regular basis," said Jack
Hidary, Chair of the Coalition Advocating for Smart
Transportation, the alliance of health, civic and environmental
organizations that led the way on this effort. "Hybrid
engines reduce air pollution, fuel consumption, and driver
expenses. Everybody wins with these cabs and New York leads the
way towards energy independence."
Hybrid vehicles pollute far less and could
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
taking time to fill up.
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.
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.
"Ford is working on innovative
solutions to customer concerns over high gas prices and America's
overdependence on foreign oil. New Yorkers will be the ultimate
beneficiaries of innovative products like the Ford Escape Hybrid,"
says Bill Ford. Ford recently announced plans to produce up to
250,000 hybrids a year by 2010.
"We are excited about the progress
these vehicles represent," said New York City Taxi
Commissioner Matthew W. Daus. "New York City has always been
a pioneer when it comes to taxicabs and innovation, and today it
has been proven once again."
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.
That savings could enable hybrid owners to
recover the premium cost of the technology within the first year
on the road.
"It's a no-brainer," says Evgeny
Friedman, the co-owner of Taxi Club Management Inc., in Brooklyn.
Friedman who purchased 18 of the first 27 hybrid medallions
auctioned last October by the New York City Taxi and Limousine
New York City Council Member John C. Liu,
Chairperson of the Transportation Committee, stated: "Our
actions in the City Council have focused national attention on
the numerous potential benefits of hybrid vehicles and have
brought us to this historic unveiling. Today, we witness New York
City's first hybrid taxicab -- crucial technology for our post-Katrina
economy -- which will help ensure a decent living for taxicab
operators struggling with high fuel prices, provide cleaner air
for New Yorkers, and help us contribute to a reduction in our
nation's reliance on fossil fuels."
When I first proposed alternative-fuel
cars be used as cabs three years ago, hybrids were just beginning
to reach the marketplace, New York City Council Member
David Yassky said. But now -- with this new technology
available and affordable, and with our law in place to allow
these cars to be cabs -- there is no good reason to keep hybrids
out of the taxi fleet. Yassky said allowing hybrid cabs is
not only good for the environment, but also good for business.