Operations

No Hailing A Green Cab Just Yet

Posted on November 24, 2009

LESSONS FOR LIMOS: Alternative fuel vehicles are still over the horizon for most U.S. taxicab fleets, the TLPA reports.

ROCKVILLE, MD - The nation's largest and oldest association of for-hire vehicle fleet executives has released a new study that determines that the benefits of converting America's taxicab fleets to alternative fuel vehicles does not yet make widespread operational sense, but may in the near future.

The report, "Analysis of Alternative Fuels & Vehicles for Taxicab Fleets," prepared by the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association (TLPA), concludes that the evolution of technology will make "widespread use of alternative fuels no longer the dream of the future but a reality that already works for some today and that may soon be ready to work for all in the taxicab industry." The report is AVAILABLE HERE.

"These vehicles are coming, and when they do, they will help transform our industry. But this report clearly shows that the taxicab industry has to strike a balance among what the market offers today in terms of vehicles; what the customer expects in terms of comfort, safety and price; and what's environmentally sustainable," said Alfred LaGasse, TLPA's Chief Executive Officer.

The TLPA created a "Vehicle Task Force" comprised of 15 industry leaders who tackled the question of whether taxicab fleets should convert to alternative fuels. The group interviewed fleet operators, reviewed media reports, and examined promotional materials from alternative fuel advocates.

FIVE KEY FINDINGS

The group reached five conclusions:

1) Alternative fuel vehicles that meet consumer needs for space, durability and cost effectiveness are not yet widely available.

2) Alternative fuel vehicle technology is accelerating, and it is likely that "within the next few years" there will be an affordable and available vehicle that is "far more efficient than today's typical taxicab."

3) The transition by police departments to alternative fuel vehicles will help to create an affordable supply of such vehicles. Today, many taxicab operators buy used police cruisers - typically the Ford Crown Victoria - because of the vehicle's reputation for affordability, space and durability.

4) New vehicle standards announced by President Barack Obama this year should lead automobile manufacturers to develop alternative fuel vehicles designed for commercial passenger fleets.

5) No alternative fuel to gasoline has a reliable network of fueling stations. Similarly, the production shortage of batteries for hybrid vehicles needs to be addressed before a greater variety of such vehicles are available at a lower cost.

Several TLPA member companies are "pioneering the industry's serious experimentation with alternative fuel vehicles," the report says. The experiences of some of these companies, including from New York City, San Francisco, and Las Vegas, are summarized in the report, along with the experiences of member companies in other countries such as Canada, England and Australia.

Established in 1917, the Taxicab, Limousine & Paratransit Association (TLPA) is a non-profit trade association of and for the private passenger transportation industry. Its extensive membership spans the globe to include 1,000 taxicab companies, executive sedan and limousine services, airport shuttle fleets, non-emergency medical transportation companies, and paratransit services. For more information, please visit http://www.tlpa.org/.

Source: TLPA

Related Topics: alt fuel vehicles, green initiatives, green regulation

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