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. 

"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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