Saturday, May 26, 2007

Hybrid Taxis for NYC

Mayor Bloomberg announced that NYC is going to replace its current fleet of 13,000 taxis, now mostly Ford Crown Victorias, with hybrids. The Fords get a pitiful 10-15 mpg in city driving. This change would be the equivalent of removing 32,000 regular cars from the road. The move must be approved by the city’s Taxi & Limousine Commission.

Reported in the New York Times, May 23, 2007

One advantage, I suppose, is that the hybrids are more tailored to the driving styles of most NYC cab drivers, which could be characterized as “stop and go” on steroids.

Fellow New Yorkers: how many times have you been in a cab that violently accelerated to go 40 feet towards an already red light and then slammed on the brakes?

In moments of my usual mode of do-nothing environmental reverie, I wondered about trying to estimate the fuel costs of violent stop-and-go driving for the average cab shift in order to make the case for more stomach- and environmentally-friendly driving. Hybrids, with their regenerative breaking, will lessen the environmental and financial costs of cab-style driving—so I guess I will try to be more philosophical about living with the lurches.

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