San Francisco, California, is working with Clean Energy, a provider of natural gas for transportation, and the Coalition Advocating for Smart Transportation (CAST), to develop packages of incentives to boost the number of compressed natural gas (CNG) and hybrid taxis serving the city.
Clean Energy will provide and administer financial incentives of approximately $16,000 per CNG taxi. CAST, which played a role in getting New York City to adopt policies to support hybrid taxis, will provide resources aimed at increasing the number of hybrid taxis in San Francisco.
The $16,000 per CNG taxi is an aggregation of incentives from various sources. Clean Energy is helping to administer the funds as well as providing its own funding.
The composition of the incentive is as follows:
- Bay Area Air Quality Management District funding of $4,000 per vehicle for SULEV certification;
- Federal tax credit of $4,000 for cleanest technology;
- DOE grant administered by Clean Energy of $2,000 per vehicle;
- Clean Energy Incentive of $2,500 up-front;
- Clean Energy fuel rebate of 25 cents per gallon through the end of 2007 (an estimated $3,500 based on typical San Francisco taxi fuel consumption).
San Francisco also offers benefits for clean air taxis, including once-per-shift front-of-the-line privileges at SFO and waivers for airport trip fees. San Francisco Taxicab Commission allows clean air taxis one additional year of service provided they pass mechanical inspections. Since 1999, when CNG vehicles first entered San Francisco’s taxi fleet, SFO has administered clean air grants to reduce the vehicle purchase price.
The San Francisco taxi fleet currently contains 140 CNG vehicles and will soon have 30 hybrid vehicles out of a total fleet size of 1,381. According to local dealerships, special orders for CNG taxis are ramping up and expect to exceed more than one hundred additional vehicles within the next few months. Eight-hundred CNG taxis are currently in service in Los Angeles, Seattle, Phoenix, Oakland and San Francisco.