Black Cars to Go Green

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Wednesday that the hybrid changeover for yellow cabs will be extended to cover the city's 10,000 black cars.

Under a proposed rule change, the Taxi and Limousine Commission would require new licensed black cars to meet a 25 m.p.g. standard for city driving in 2009 and 30 m.p.g. in 2010 -- ratings "currently achievable only by using hybrid technology," according to the city. Today's black cars average 12 to 15 m.p.g.

The black car requirement is a component of PlaNYC. Last year it was announced that all yellow cabs are to go hybrid by 2012.

"We've come up with a proposal similar to the new yellow cab standards, which the TLC board approved unanimously last December," said Bloomberg. "Between yellow taxis and black cars, more than 23,000 TLC regulated cars will be required to be more efficient. This will allow us to achieve substantial emissions reductions for our city -- and keep us moving towards our long-term goal of creating a truly sustainable city."

It is estimated that the hybrid switch will reduce black car emissions by 50 percent.

Black cars would also be subject to a retirement regulation under the new rules. Unlike yellow cabs, black cars are not currently required to be removed from the for-hire fleet due to age.

SmartTransportation.org says the TLC will vote on the rule change on April 10.

Hybrid models that could be used include the Toyota Camry, Toyota Highlander, Nissan Altima, Mercury Mariner, Lexus Rx400h, Ford Escape and Toyota Prius.

Photo: Edward Reed/NYC.gov