NEW YORK CITY — Under Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s recently announced plan, the entire fleet of roughly 10,000 chauffeured transportation vehicles, mostly black, would be required to meet fuel-efficiency standards, attainable with hybrid vehicles, of 25 miles a gallon in 2009 and 30 miles a gallon in 2010. Officials expect the new standards to cut emissions in half, in part because the more fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles switch to battery power when they idle.
The plan, part of Mr. Bloomberg's overall program to make the city more environmentally sound in the coming decades, is to go before the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission for approval at a hearing on Thursday, April 10, 2008, and includes a requirement that the so-called black cars be replaced every six years, a way of ensuring that almost all of them would meet the new standards by 2013. "It is to the great credit of black-car industry leaders that they have collectively embraced Mayor Bloomberg's efforts to reduce harmful emissions," said Matthew Daus, the taxi and limousine commissioner.
The mayor's plan would also include incentives like tax breaks and low-cost-financing options to make it easier for the drivers, many of whom must buy their cars, to afford the higher down payments needed for hybrid vehicles. Deutsche Bank and Lehman Brothers are working with a black-car company, Executive Transportation Group, to help provide low-interest loans for hybrid-vehicle purchases. Best Ford Taxi and Hudson Toyota/Penske Automotive Group have said they would offer favorable financing packages to the drivers. And the city is asking the state to approve the waiver of sales taxes on purchases.
Source: New York Times