New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced that the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) will require black cars—the large sedans (often Lincoln Town Cars) that primarily service corporate clients—to increase fuel efficiency standards to a level currently achievable only by using hybrid technology.It makes more sense for taxis and black cars to be hybrids than almost any other type of car. These cars on on the road all the time, use lots of fuel, and where fuel savings would be the greatest. If upgrading to a hybrid pays for itself in less than a year, why haven't the black car companies done this on their own already? Seems like the return on investment more than justifies it. Ironic how it takes government regulation to make these companies run more efficiently and profitably.
Black cars currently release 272,000 tons of CO2 equivalents annually, which make up 2% of the City’s transportation-related emissions. Under the new standards, emissions from black cars will be cut in half. The plan to improve the fuel efficiency of the 10,000 black car fleet was envisioned as part of the Mayor’s PlaNYC 2030.
Currently, black cars average 12-15 mph. The TLC will require fuel efficiency standards for new licensed black car vehicles of 25 mpg in 2009 and 30 mpg 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. 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.
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.
Through extensive consultation with users, fleets, and drivers—including demonstrations of the new vehicle types; 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); and Mercury Mariner Hybrid FWD, 34 mpg (city). In addition, other models may include: Lexus Rx400h AWD, Ford Escape Hybrid AWD, and Toyota Prius.
A couple of smart comments on the post:
Ford would have been much better off if they had expanded hybrid production to the Crown Victoria. Every police force/mayor in the country would have jumped through hoops to be able to boast that they had cut their carbon footprint by more than 50% while allowing the police to operate their computers without leaving the engine idling all the time like they do now.Good point. I agree that a hybrid Crown Vic would be a big winner in the market.
Another point to bear in mind is that limousine drivers idle their engines to keep the A/C or heating running (depending on season). They could - and would - cut the ignition by hand if they could deliver the high level of comfort their customers expect without burning expensive fuel. Better thermal insulation of the passenger compartment would help in winter. Relocating the waiting areas such that they are in the shade of buildings or trees or else, covering them with a roof, would help in summer.Interesting idea.
via Green Car Congress