This is the way Government should work!

For those of you lucky enough to live in NY, you may have heard this story, but to the rest of the country and world, here is what someone who is committed and not tied to special interests (yes it helps to be a self made billionaire) can effect change.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg (kudos also to city councilman David Yasskey who convinced Bloomberg to make it a 5 year rather than 10 year change) announced yesterday that NY’s entire taxi fleet, that is 13,000 medallion cabs to those outside NYC, will have to meet stringent mileage and emissions standards within the next 5 years.

This is all part of Bloomberg’s PlaNYC that he recently announced to cut the city’s green house gas emissions by 30% by 2030.

Again, 5 years, not twenty, or the next century as the federal government is talking about.

The requirements can currently ONLY BE MET BY HYBRID VEHICLES.

A quick lesson for those who don’t know. Only certain vehicles are currently permitted to be medallion (officially licensed and monitored by the cities Taxi and Limousine Commission) taxicabs.

Principal among these is the Ford Crown Victoria which currently gets 10-15 miles a gallon. These make up 90% of the current fleet.

By October 2008, the requirement will be 25mpg. This will escalate 20%/year. i.e. 2009, 30mpg, etc.

To kick things off, Yahoo donated 5 Ford Escape Hybrids to the city.

This is what is known as a win/win situation.

With 13,000 vehicles operating essentially 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week, these vehicles are the equivalent of 32,000 private vehicles as estimated by various environmental groups.

In addition to the energy savings, it will remove the equivalent of 215,000 TONS of CO2 emissions a year from NY’s air.

What may also be unknown to many is that the vehicles are owned, generally, by the fleet operators. However, the individual drivers are responsible for purchasing their own fuel.

So, it also has the net effect of allowing drivers to earn more. Obviously, if they go from 10mpg to 30, they will be saving a huge amount of money each year, estimated at approximately $10,000 or $20-50 a shift.

This whole plan is doable because the current regulations in NY require the cabs to be changed every 5 years anyway, so there is really no additional costs to the fleet owners.

There is the higher expense of hybrids, vs conventional cars. Wouldn’t it be nice if the Federal Government could find a way to extend the current tax credits on hybrid vehicles!!

Finally, for the consumers, for anyone who has heard a hybrid, you know it is quieter than a conventional engine so… less noise!!!

Of course, imagine the lesson to the rest of the world that NYC, the intellectual and financial capital of the world, is fully hybrid!!

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