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Federal Court Blocks Implementation of NYC Fuel-Efficient Taxi Program

Reuters. US District Judge Paul Crotty has granted a preliminary injunction against the implementation of New York City’s rules for more fuel efficient taxis. Approved in December 2007, the regulation required all taxicabs coming into service (with the exception of accessible taxicabs) after 1 October 2008 be capable of achieving a city mileage rating of 25 miles per gallon (mpg). As of October 2009, all new taxicabs vehicles were to have a 30 mpg city rating.

Judge Crotty ruled that regulation of fuel emissions standards falls under federal, not city, authority, and that implementation of the regulations now would be costly to the taxi industry. The original lawsuit, filed in September in Manhattan federal court, also argued that the rules had been rushed out without adequate concern for safety and cost.

Mayor Bloomberg responded to the ruling:

We are very disappointed in the decision and we are exploring our appellate options. The decision is not a ruling against hybrids cabs, rather a ruling that archaic Washington regulations are applicable and therefore New York City, and all other cities, are prevented from choosing to create cleaner air and a healthier place to live. The sad irony here is the laws being relied on by the plaintiff, the Clean Air Act and the Energy Policy and Conservation Act were designed to reduce air pollution and reduce our dependence on foreign oil—which is exactly what moving to fuel efficient cabs will do.

The courts are not the only way we can reach our goal of a cleaner fleet of taxi cabs. I've instructed the TLC to develop a program with strong incentives for the use of fuel efficient vehicles and heavy disincentives for use of the inefficient vehicles of a past generation. Additionally, we will be working with our Congressional delegation to produce legislation to update the outdated laws, originally written in the 1970s, to reflect the current realities of environmental stewardship. Greening the taxi fleet is a major priority and we are going to use every mechanism at our disposal to make New York a cleaner, healthier city. Taxis are a part of our public transportation system. They must be part of the solution to air pollution, not a contributing cause of the problem.

New York has also adopted similar fuel efficiency requirements for the black car limousine fleet. Beginning 1 January 2009, all black car vehicles coming into service must be capable of achieving a city mileage rating of 25 mpg, and 20 mpg as of 1 January 2010. The city’s approximately 10,000 black cars service corporate clientele. (Earlier post.)



Unbelievable but true!

Amazing to see how far oil and gas guzzlers manufacturers lobbies have gone.

Many existing pressure groups and special interests protection laws should be revised for the good of the country.

Nate H.

Well, I wonder how on earth much money it would cost the cabbies and cab companies just to convert from Stone-Age gas guzzlin' Crown Vics to more current expensive Escape Hybrids or Prius varieties.

This needed to be stopped in a 'downed' economy. Afordability is key right now. Forcing people to convert their possibly paid-off cab to new $30,000 loans would be a tad wreckless.

With all the wall street jobs sent to the toilet, I think cab use will drop dramatically anyways. There will be a nice 5-9% reduction in use soon. Its almost like getting reductions for free, no strings or loans attached.

Lets wait till what they used to call "prosperity" comes back before we force people to purchase things we say they should. That way, when they get money, we can take it back off of them.

Woo-hoo! Go socialism (said in quite the sarcastic tone)

Nate H.
Dover, Ohio


Nate, NYC taxi regulations require cabs to be replaced pretty frequently anyway, I think it may be 3 years, but I am not sure. Yes, the hybrids are more expensive, but these are very high mileage cars and therefore the payback time on the fuel savings is much faster than on a typical family car getting 10-20,000 miles of use per year. Nobody is being forced to get rid of a brand new taxi and replace it with a new hybrid; they were already forced to get rid of the old taxis and replace them with new ones pretty frequently.

Perhaps prosperity will return when we stop sending hundreds of billions of dollars overseas each year to buy fuel from people who then turn around and use that money to fund terrorist activities and kill us.

Don't know why companies like GM and Ford are bothering to lobby against laws like this. At the rate they're going, they're not going to be around much longer anyway and the choice for cabbies will not be Crown Vic or Prius, but Highlander or Highlander Hybrid.



I agree with you.

Many (roomy, very long lasting and very practical) London Cabs will be partly and/or fully electrified in 2009.

NY (and other USA large cities) city cabs will have to follow sooner or latter.

It wouldn't be a bad idea to import London's e-cabs instead of importing Oil, if USA car manufacturers can't build them.

Will S

This suit was brought by the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade. Another link for this info is http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1855701,00.html

The Bush Administration has been pressing to keep States and cities from doing anything that might be helpful on the oil and GHG front. Eight wasted years....

Kit P

“The Bush Administration has been pressing to keep States and cities from doing anything that might be helpful on the oil and GHG front. Eight wasted years....”
It is a good thing that Will S is not a US citizen and therefore will not be able to vote. After Will S has lived in US longer and as part of the naturalization process he will learn about the three branches of government.
One of the first things Bush did was make mitigating AGW a priority. I know this because I read the National Energy Policy, May 2001. Unlike Clinton Bush, is actually doing something. The US has regained leadership in almost every aspect renewable energy. Wind and biomass power stations are being built as fast we can design and produce equipment. More than 30 nuke plants are in various planning stages.
Where Will S may confused is that some states and cities have tried to impose poorly thought out policy on the entire nation. It is interesting that these same states and cities are not leaders in actually reducing ghg.

Will S

Kit, you're living in a propaganda dream. Bush has fought doing anything about AGW ever since he came to office. True, he has done some hand-waving and lip service, but sued California when they tried to do something on their own. As a former stalwart Republican, I can understand the rhetoric that drifts through their smoke-filled back rooms, but unlike the 22% who think Bush is not total incompetent, I don't inhale.


They can still institute a bonus/malus system on cab licenses. +$5000/year for every MPG under 25 and -$100 for every MPG over 25 ought to cause the fleet to roll over pretty damned quickly.

Kit P

@Will S

I used to live and work in California in the electricity generating industry. Could you please tell me specifically what California is doing to reduce AGW that Bush has fought? Will S made the claim it is up to him to be specific if he is going to accuse others of propaganda.



We have no illusion about your insignificant political convictions which we care about as much as our fisrt Tshirt, but should I remind you that the Bush administration joined the EPA against California when they asked the supreme court to decided if CO2 was a pollutant? it is increasly evident that the White House asked the EPA to deny the waiver to california for promulgating its own regulation for car mileage. Oh yes Bush administration made AWG a priority after 7 years of denial and obstruction they finally accepted to admit it but because it was no longer politically sustainable, certainly not because they care about the planet.

Unless your are blind I think you just don't want to see. well it is so confortable to think that global warming is wrong and that corn ethanol is a panacea just as it was to believe that the free market does everything well by itself including the financial meltdown that push the most conservative government to take the most socalist actions like nationalizing banks in bankrupt.

Kit P

Oh please, Treehugger is a German and understands how US government as much as Will S. It is question solving AGW with science and engineering or by the ranting of journalist and lawyers.

The National Energy Policy, May 2001, which was in the first few months of Bush presidency. Treehugger do you understand the difference between a few months and 7 years.

So some loon from California (born in Germany) gets together with loons from Germany and decide to dictate US government policy over one issue. This is exactly why our founding fathers had the foresight to make it very hard to enter silly treaties with old Europe.

Solving AGW is very easy. If the folks in Germany and California want to reduce ghg ration the amount of gasoline and Natural gas they use. It is very interesting that the German loon in charge in California has selected a policy of criticizing federal policy rather than actually doing anything.

The energy crisis was a local problem in California. It took them 5 years to develop a policy which is essentially burn natural gas to make electricity. Burning more fossil fuel is a not a very good solution to AGW.
US energy policy is very comprehensive. The cool thing about energy is that results can be measured.
So what is the record of the Bush Administration:

- Anaerobic digestion of farm manure: exponential growth
- Wind generation: exponential growth
- Ethanol: exponential growth
- Biodiesel: exponential growth
- Geothermal: exponential growth
- Nuke plants being closed: zero
- Nuke plants being extended 20 years: 100%
- Nuke plants being licensed: 30+
- Nuke plants being sold to China: four
- Biomass electricity generation: growing instead of declining

- FERC regulations with teeth: passed

- Rolling blackouts due to lack of capacity/fuel: zero
- Operating drilling rigs: 1500 up from 500
- The price of natural gas for home heating: the same as 2000

So what has California achieved during the same period aside from burning more natural gas? They build wind mills in Oregon and Washington state.



First I am not German, I am from europe but live in California, so look for something else.

Your are ridiculous with your exponential growth, it is easy to get an exponential figure when you start from zero. The only thing that the Bush administration did is this stupid corn ethanol which every single serious expert recognize it is the most stupid thing ever in matter of energy. Jimmy Carter also started a lot of thing in renewable it was all trashed by D. Reagan

California had big wind mills farm build in the 70s, California ordered 1 Gwatts of solar plant, and launched the million solar roof. Natural gas is still the cleanest and less CO2 generator of anay fossil fuel lready a big progress compare to coal. I am not saying that California is perfect but I don't understand what's your hate of California is doing here. California ahs always been ahead of the rest of the world in matter of emission regulation it is only on this administration that have a waiver blocked. California started to regulate emission before EPA even existed. So

Kit P

Finally, Treehugger admits where he is from. A Californian who is against farmers in the Midwest making ethanol, go figure. No doubt that Treehugger can find an expert from UC Berkley who has done a study on the topic. News flash slick, nobody listens to anybody from UCB outside of California.

Let state something very clearly. I love California. What is sad is the environmental stewardship of the loony left that has resulted in places that one has clean air like San Jose being now have worse air quality than coal and steel towns like Pittsburgh and South Bend.

The capacity factor of California windmills is around 21%. They do not work very well. Most of the new wind is in Texas, Washington, Oregon, and the great Plains. California only lead the way in how not to build wind farms. Blaming Reagan for the failure of California leadership to maintain equipment in the 90s is just silly.

California's solar thermal plants are really natural gas fire plants. Let me know how the new thermal solar plants work out. Also let me how those million PV panels work out too. Clearly Treehugger does not understand the difference between gimmicks and producing electricity.

Natural gas is very good way of making electricity. It is not a very good way of reducing ghg. It is a little self serving for people in a state with no coal to want regulations that limit the use of coal. California wants regulations that fit California and hurt other states. Bush is president of the US not just California.

California would be in serious trouble if other states stopped shipping coal generated electricity and turned off the all the NG pipelines. California should change the state motto to the elsewhere emission state.


Kit p doesn't correctly tell the story.

California has had the ability to create emission standards for itself and other states have had the right to choose the standards to which they would be covered, either federal or California.

The federal gov't tried to use the EPA to stop higher standards from being put in place. Later on the Federal gov't passed red herring resolutions under Senator Inhofe, from detroit, and pointed to them as a solution so that California couldn't control emissions. A very disputable point. A very cynical move from a federal gov't and a detroit senator more interested in the status quo and coddling detroit, rather than seeing it as an oportunity for innovation and progress.

As for california pollution such as in san jose. One can point out the rise of the commuter culture of the recent decade as the cause and the need of california to demand it's right, as it has had in the past, to control the emmision standards of cars sold in the state.

As for wind power in California. It comprised 2.3% in 2007 (over 6802GWh) up from 1.5% in 2004. The annual report on wind energy 2007 DOE put the wind projects in california that year at a capacity factor of 36%. The only capacity factors that are low are the early ones. Pre 1997 projects, which contribute very little to the total wind capacity, are 22.3% and the 1998 projects contribute 29.8% capacity factor. All later completed projects are in the 30's. Far higher and productive than Kit p's prejudiced statements imply. Considering the previous arguement over wind where I linked the DOE report and his utter lack of initiative in reading it shows how far ingrained his views are.


NY and California should not be tied down by backwards looking attitudes when progressive things are trying to be done. The NY plan would definitely pay in the long term and fear mongering done to keep things the status quo are futile. Other juridictions have used hybrid fleets to successful results. NYC should appeal this short sighted decision.

Henry Gibson

New York City is in an almost unique position to reduce green house gases without doing a single thing with the cabs. Until stringent laws are implemented requiring efficient buildings the cabs should be left alone. Cogeneration should be required for all new and then all old buildings. Capstone turbines and other units have made cogeneration possible for any building of any size. The pay back period for cogeneration is much shorter than that for cars and the cogeneration can also include cooling.

New York City could build a CANDU reactor a few hundred feet below the Empire State building and turn much of the Steam heating of the city over to nuclear. The reactor would only supply heat and would need no cooling tower or any other surface installations. Geothermal type electric generators might be used by some buildings for some power from the hot water. Actually two reactors should be built. If one fails the other one continues without any one on the surface needing to know. Even Chernobyl type reactors could be used without noticable danger. ..HG..


ask any cabbie or cab company operator and they will tell you that the cost savings from gas usage does not outweigh the "total cost of ownership" - total cost of ownership of taxi cabs includes: gas,insurance,service+repairs/replacements. remember that many of these cars are driven 24/7. example you must replace hybrid batteries every 100K miles or so, so thats $7000/each, or $14,000 over 300,000miles. include brakes, brake pads, transmission,electronics, ect.. and you are talking about 2times the cost of the new vehicle. these costs are far less for US made cars, and far more on expensive hybrids... so you see the math actually does not make sense yet. when it does, i am sure they will all start buying hybrids to save money.
It always annoys me when novices write articles or comments making simple statements not backed with hard facts. sure, sounds like it makes sense to just replace your taxis, but after review and experience and testing, we find out the cost/benifit analysis shows a poor descision to replace your Taxi right now with a hybrid. lets hope that soon the costs will come down and it will make fiscal sense to go into more debt to obtain hybrids for taxi fleets.

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