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Escape Hybrid taxi  (Source:
City looks to lobby Congress to adjust the law in which the ruling was based on

A legal battle between New York City and the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade has been put on hold after the Supreme Court refused to hear NYC's appeal last week.

Back in 2007, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg planned to make all 13,000 of NYC's taxi's hybrids by 2012 due to Ford's decision to shut down a plant in Canada known for producing Crown Victoria's and Lincoln Town Cars. In 2007, only 375 taxis were hybrids while 11,700 Crown Vic taxis were in operation.

In 2010, the number of Crown Victorias was down to 8,200. Today, about 4,300 of the city's cabs are hybrids. Camry Hybrids, Altima Hybrids and Escape Hybrids are just a few you can see cruising the streets of NYC today. 

In 2008, taxi owners brought a suit against the city opposing Bloomberg's plan to mandate all taxi drivers to purchase hybrids. 

Lower court judges ruled, "The power to regulate emissions standards belongs to the federal government." The city proposed a minimum fuel efficiency of 25 mpg in all city cabs, and also proposed that all taxicab owners with hybrids could charge higher leases on their taxis. Judge Paul A. Crotty of Federal District Court in Manhattan rejected both proposals. Once the case reached the Supreme Court, the court refused to hear the city's appeal.

"We are disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to clarify a law that has very large nationwide environmental implications," said city Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo. 

Bloomberg said NYC would now lobby Congress to adjust the law in which the ruling was based on. Other cities are now joining NYC's appeal concerns regarding the environment. According to Cardozo, these cities are looking for solutions to problems like climate change, and "the federal government seems unable to address those issues." 

The Taxi and Limousine Commission is holding a contest to find a replacement taxi vehicle by 2014, which will take the place of all Crown Victorias left on the road. The TLC also currently has a list of 12 vehicles that can be used as taxis, and nine of these include hybrids. To limit the list to hybrids only would lead to similar legal issues and approach the boundaries of federal regulatory authority. 

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By BioHazardous on 3/7/2011 1:10:06 PM , Rating: 2
How does CA have different standards than the rest of the country then if only the federal government has control over emission standards? I don't actually know, just curious if somebody else knows the answer.

By rcc on 3/7/2011 1:23:33 PM , Rating: 3
I don't know the answer to your question. However....

For all that I complain about money wasted on environmental boondoggles. The difference in air quality in S. CA, particularly the Greater LA area over the last 20-25 years is amazing. Mostly credited to the emissions standards.

By arazok on 3/7/2011 2:00:46 PM , Rating: 2
I thought it was because you exported all your manufacturing to Mexico and China?

By rcc on 3/7/2011 4:46:20 PM , Rating: 2
Don't look at me, I didn't do it.

And while that may have helped, it was mosting the car emission standards.

Of course, they can't leave well enough alone, so they keep adding more and more stringent requirements that probably will make things worse overall, if not here.

By SPOOFE on 3/8/2011 12:30:19 AM , Rating: 2
Well don't you know that you can't have too much of a good thing? More must be better! More, more, MOOOOOORE!

By Lerianis on 3/8/2011 3:25:06 AM , Rating: 2
When it comes to fuel-efficiency standards, more is a good thing. The fact is that we could get the gas mileage for even SUV's up to 80mpg quite easily in this country, and that would pretty much solve our smog problem forever along with better filtration of the exhaust from cars.

By DFranch on 3/8/2011 9:28:27 AM , Rating: 2
Really, how?

By Spuke on 3/8/2011 1:03:02 PM , Rating: 2
LOL! People crack me up with this stuff. I sure would LOVE to hear how too!!!

By PitViper007 on 3/8/2011 3:17:15 PM , Rating: 3
Really? An 80 MPG SUV??? Dude, make it and you'll never have to worry about money again!

By Nutzo on 3/7/2011 2:19:24 PM , Rating: 5
And it's still not enough, as they keep wanting even more stringent requirements.

The main improvement in air quality in Southern California due to strick emission standards took place from the early 70's through the early 1990's.
Most of the improvement since then has been due to the loss of manufacturing and business due to the excessive regulations.

Now we have new regulations are so misguided they are causing MORE pollution, or just shift the pollution to other places. We shut down clean manufacturing here, and move it to China, which produces much more pollution.
New CO2 regulations in California are going to make it almost impossible in a few years to manufacture concrete in Southern California. So instead it will be made in other states and trucked in, resulting in a net increase in overall polution.

By FITCamaro on 3/7/2011 7:06:44 PM , Rating: 3
Stop using that damn stuff called logic!

By Omega215D on 3/7/2011 9:21:50 PM , Rating: 2
The public can't repel logic of that magnitude!

By cjohnson2136 on 3/7/2011 1:32:13 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't realize CA had different standards

By RjBass on 3/7/2011 2:04:59 PM , Rating: 2
Really? One episode of The Price Is Right would clue you in that CA's emission standards are different.

By cjohnson2136 on 3/7/2011 4:35:22 PM , Rating: 2
Cause I sit at home in the middle of the day to watch Price is Right. I have not seen that since I was homeschooled in 4th grade. So just stop trolling. Just because you know something and someone else doesn't really is not that big of a deal.

By Demon-Xanth on 3/7/2011 4:27:56 PM , Rating: 2
For my car:
Federal: 235HP, 1 cat, 2 O2 sensors. A replacement cat would cost $150, the O2 sensors run about $160.
California: 230HP, 3 cats, 4 O2 sensors. Replacement cats cost $450/ea.

By cjohnson2136 on 3/7/2011 4:36:16 PM , Rating: 2
Thats ridiculous, I am glad I don't live in CA

By Murloc on 3/7/2011 5:02:41 PM , Rating: 2
why pay for a cat when you can take one from a refuge?

By seamonkey79 on 3/7/2011 6:24:52 PM , Rating: 4
Rescued cats don't run as well, CA requires farm bred cats for their emissions.

By FITCamaro on 3/7/2011 7:24:57 PM , Rating: 2
Refuge ones work pretty well but they smell HORRIBLE when your exhaust comes up to temp.

By rcc on 3/8/2011 12:23:41 PM , Rating: 2
The cats at the animal shelters are not cheap anymore.

By Spuke on 3/8/2011 1:06:39 PM , Rating: 2
why pay for a cat when you can take one from a refuge?
I thought you had to buy OEM cats now in CA.

By Stuka on 3/7/2011 1:37:48 PM , Rating: 2
I believe it boils down to CA has augmented emissions standards regulating how much of what comes out of the car. But the court is contending that only the Feds can set fuel consumption standards regulating how much of what goes into the car.

By surt on 3/7/2011 1:40:42 PM , Rating: 5

Basically, CA was given special permission because it had more severe issues. Other states are free to adopt either CA or federal standards.

By marvdmartian on 3/7/11, Rating: -1
By kraeper on 3/7/2011 2:51:14 PM , Rating: 5
Taxis are a licensed business though, which must obey city licensing rules to operate. If a city wants to clean up their air, they can. So I would say it's nothing at all like a national health program.

Besides, the hybrid taxi rule actually makes some sense. Hybrid vehicles provide the most benefit in stop-n-go traffic, which is where most NYC taxis operate. I do think the law (which I have not read the text of) should stipulate that all "newly-purchased" taxis must be hybrids. They should not make the business owners dump existing vehicles imo. Well-designed laws can play well with both environmentalists and business, as in this case where it will save the business owner on gas in the long run. (I know that's not usually true for private owners, but replacing a Crown Vic with a hybrid *anything* will work out better in the long run.)

By wookie1 on 3/7/2011 3:11:36 PM , Rating: 2
If existing drivers don't have to make an expensive shift to hybrids, but new drivers do, how will the new drivers make enough money to operate?

I don't think that any laws are necessary. Lawmakers would probably still try to keep the fares the same despite requiring new cars. That could drive some cabs out of the market.

By DanNeely on 3/7/2011 4:25:05 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is that existing Hybrids are not capable of fulfilling all of the tasks done by the crown vics (or other large sedans) that make up the traditional taxi fleet. They're great if you (singular) need to get home after a night at the club. They are OK if you and a few friends are going home together to save costs, depending on how many of you there are it might be significantly more cramped. Finally they fail miserably if you, your spouse, and children are trying to get from the airport to the hotel with 2 bags each because the trunk is much smaller.

By zxern on 3/7/2011 10:21:20 PM , Rating: 2
Dude, did you not see the picture or do you think a crown vic has more space than an escape hybrid?

By rcc on 3/8/2011 12:29:28 PM , Rating: 2
If the government can mandate hybrids, or healthcare for that matter, why not have them outlaw smoking, flatulence, and burping in public.

By Philippine Mango on 3/7/2011 3:23:59 PM , Rating: 2
California gets a Federal Waiver every year.. that's why.

By walk2k on 3/7/2011 3:56:29 PM , Rating: 2
Because CA had standards before the federal Clear Air Act was implemented.

States thereafter have the option to either follow CA, or the federal standards. (CA standards are higher btw).

By walk2k on 3/7/2011 4:00:50 PM , Rating: 2
NY state follows CA (CARB).

So he's right and he's wrong. No the CITY of NY does not have the right to regulate emissions, but the STATE of NY does. (Though technically, the state of CA sets the standards for NY.. but if NY didn't like it they could follow EPA instead).

By Shadowmaster625 on 3/7/2011 3:20:53 PM , Rating: 3
If they were really more efficient, you wouldnt need any mandate of any kind. Especially for something like a taxi. It's a no brainer. But when you have no brain, even a no brainer is toguh to understand. So you go crying to big nanny government so they can find some way to make the problem worse.

RE: Idiotic
By bobsmith1492 on 3/7/2011 4:07:39 PM , Rating: 2
I bet they would be much more efficient. Taxis are a lot of stop-and-go, being in a city, which is where hybrids shine. So, I'd think taxi companies would figure that out eventually, making such mandates unnecessary.

RE: Idiotic
By rcc on 3/7/2011 4:53:13 PM , Rating: 3
Taxi companies are in the business of making money. If an immediate conversion to hybrids was more cost effective over the life of the vehicles, you can bet they'd already have done it.

And, if it were more cost effective and they didn't switch, they'd deserve to get put out of business by people with lower costs.

But if hybrids were going to be more efficient anywhere, intuitively taxis would be it.

RE: Idiotic
By walk2k on 3/7/2011 5:55:28 PM , Rating: 1
Taxi companies are in the business of making money
Exactly, and they don't care about things like, pollution, smog, or the health problems that arise from their "making money" at any costs. This is why regulation is needed.

RE: Idiotic
By Lerianis on 3/8/2011 3:46:35 AM , Rating: 2
walk2k, you pointed out the problem with relying on people's 'better nature' to come out.... when you are talking about corporations, it almost never does.

It's all about M O N E Y, and corporations couldn't care less whether they kill people getting that until they are hauled into court on charges or found out.

RE: Idiotic
By Kurz on 3/8/2011 9:20:09 AM , Rating: 2
For hundreds of years thats how its been done...
People, corps, businesses are taken to court to pay for damages. I havent seen this murdering you speak of.

RE: Idiotic
By rcc on 3/8/2011 12:36:52 PM , Rating: 2
Fine, then regulate the emissions, mpg, etc. but telling people they have to buy a specific type of vehicle is just asking for a continuation of the bribe ridden poltical problems we currently have.

Can you tell me with a straight face that you don't think there are any hybrid manufacturers, or environmental lobbists, talking to the City of NY, purely because this will help there bottom line, or cause?

RE: Idiotic
By rcc on 3/8/2011 2:40:00 PM , Rating: 2
there = their.... sorry

Favorite quote
By wookie1 on 3/7/2011 2:03:37 PM , Rating: 5
The best part is this:

"We are disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to clarify a law that has very large nationwide environmental implications,"

The Court did clarify the law, by not hearing it, they clarified that the lower courts were correct in their judgement.

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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