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NY’s Plans For Eco-Friendly Taxis Halted

November 2, 2008

The plan to turn New York City’s entire fleet of yellow cabs green by 2012 was halted Friday by a federal judge who ruled that regulation of fuel emissions standards fall under federal, not city, authority.

The plan called for every new taxi to have a minimum standard of at least 30 miles per gallon, a target now met by hybrid and clean diesel cars.

U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty found that the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade, an association of taxi owners accounting for about a quarter of the city’s 13,000 yellow cabs, had “demonstrated a likelihood of success” in having the new rules thrown out. He granted a preliminary injunction.

The implementation of regulations now would be costly to the taxi industry, Crotty ruled.

The city is considering an appeal.

“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,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement.

The Taxi and Limousine Commission said there are already about 1,400 hybrid taxis in the city.

Hybrid vehicles emit less exhaust and have better gas mileage than other vehicles because they are powered by a combination of gasoline and electricity.

The original lawsuit that was filed in September argued that the rules had been rushed out without adequate concern for safety cost.

“While a decision to announce the immediate change to ‘clean’ taxis might be politically enticing and expedient, it is also irresponsible, dangerous and illegal,” the suit said.

Having green taxis are a cornerstone of Bloomberg’s environmental plan, which aims to curb the city’s carbon footprint by 30 percent by 2030.

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