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Ford Escape Hybrid
Hybrid fever strikes New York City

Given the stop and go nature of traffic in New York City, the promise of increased fuel efficiency from hybrids is too good to pass up. Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced yesterday on the "Today" show that every yellow cab will be a hybrid by the year 2012.

There are roughly 13,000 taxis roaming city streets (90 percent of which are gas guzzling Ford Crown Victorias). According to Bloomberg, 20 percent of the existing yellow cab fleet will be replaced each year until all are running on hybrid power. Currently, there are only 375 hybrid taxis on the road in NYC.

"There's an awful lot of taxicabs on the streets of New York City obviously, so it makes a real big difference," said Bloomberg. "These cars just sit there in traffic sometimes, belching fumes; this does a lot less. It's a lot better for all of us."

There are currently eight vehicles on the city's "approved" list when it comes to hybrid vehicles to be used as yellow cabs: the Ford Escape Hybrid; the Honda Accord Hybrid and Civic Hybrid; the Lexus RX400h; the Saturn Vue Green Line; and the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Camry Hybrid and Prius. As more manufacturers roll out fuel efficient hybrids, the number of possible candidates is sure to increase. Vehicles like the Saturn Aura Green Line and rumored Ford Fusion hybrid are likely to join the list.

Ford Crown Victorias are rated at 15 MPG in city driving. A Ford Escape Hybrid, however, is rated at 31 MPG in the city according to the new 2008 EPA estimates. Hybrids like the Camry and Prius are even more fuel efficient at 33 MPG and 48 MPG respectively.

The Ford Escape Hybrid has already seen extensive use in San Francisco. Taxi operators reported on their vehicles once the 100,000 mile mark was surpassed. According to the operators, fuel savings compared to the Crown Victoria were between $20 to $31 per shift. Air conditioning costs were also roughly half that of Crown Victorias. Another plus was that the brakes lasted twice as long due to the hybrid system's regenerative braking feature taking a load off the traditional braking system. Most importantly, there were no complaints of poor rear legroom from passengers.

Yahoo Inc. has already committed to donate 10 Ford Escape Hybrid taxis according to Bloomberg.

When all is said and done, the switch to a completely hybrid yellow cab fleet will save each taxi operator over $10,000 USD per year in fuel costs while also cutting total carbon emissions by 200,000 tons per year.

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By spluurfg on 5/23/2007 8:30:48 AM , Rating: 2
Now all they need to do is get decent public transportation linking the major airports to the city. Right now the only real way to get there is by bus (which isn't always punctual) or by taxi (which is on the expensive side). If only they could finish that JFK rail link that currently starts at JFK and leads nowhere.

London links its major airports (Heathrow, Gatwick) with high speed rail (heathrow/gatwick express from paddington/victoria) and Heathrow is linked by the picadilly line.

Sure, you can get the airtrain to JFK, but you need to go all the way out to jamaica/howard beach, which takes you way into queens to the airport limits.... would be nice if the airtrain went somewhere resembling central ny...

Just my two cents on how they could help to improve public transport and reduce emissions in a non-global-headline grabbing way.

RE: Hehe...
By spluurfg on 5/23/2007 8:32:38 AM , Rating: 2
btw Laguardia isn't even connected to the subway system... Only by bus. Some say the reason why they aren't better connected is because of the powerful taxi/limo lobbies...

RE: Hehe...
By James Holden on 5/23/2007 8:34:57 AM , Rating: 2
$2 per customer for an MTA ticket vs $50 per customer for a Taxi. You bet they have a few bucks to throw around up there.

RE: Hehe...
By Rovemelt on 5/24/2007 11:34:03 AM , Rating: 3
I always found the transportation to the airports in NYC to be really convoluted. The process from Metro North to the airports is a pain...Metro North to GCS, GCS to subway, subway to AirTrain. Driving it is worse. Yea, NYC needs to fix this. I used to fly through NYC often because it was cheaper, but not now. The hassle isn't worth $100-200 to me.

RE: Hehe...
By TheGreek on 5/25/2007 11:04:49 AM , Rating: 2
Its best to go to Grand Central and just board a private company bus that goes straight to the airport. It's like $13 and there's minimal hassle. Its located just on the other side of 42nd.

RE: Hehe...
By James Holden on 5/23/2007 8:33:39 AM , Rating: 2
Yep agree with you 100% here. Chicago has direct trains to both its airports, SFO has BART, and I think there's light rail going into LAX in the near future.

RE: Hehe...
By Spivonious on 5/23/2007 9:53:22 AM , Rating: 2
I love London's public transport, but I just wanted to clear up one thing. The two "express" lines aren't any faster than the other trains, they just don't have any stops. Hence the reason it takes 15 minutes from Heathrow on the express versus 45 minutes from Heathrow on the picadilly.

RE: Hehe...
By spluurfg on 5/23/2007 12:32:53 PM , Rating: 2
Oh you're right -- they're not high speed trains. Also you can take the Heathrow connect for half the price, which has a few stops and takes 25 mins from Paddington.

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