New York City will convert entire taxi fleet to hybrids

The big yellow taxis of the Big Apple will all be hybrids by 2012 under a plan announced yesterday by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The city has been testing 375 hybrid cabs for 18 months, and will soon begin converting its 13,000-vehicle fleet. “It will be the largest, cleanest fleet of taxis anywhere on the planet,” Bloomberg said, adding that the switch would be the equivalent of taking 30,000 individually owned, gasoline-powered vehicles off the streets. “These [cabs] just sit there in traffic sometimes, belching fumes,” he said. “This does a lot less. It’s a lot better for all of us.” Louise Vetter, president of the American Lung Association of the City of New York, agreed: “New Yorkers are exposed to some of the dirtiest air in the nation. Putting more clean cabs on New York City streets is an important step in our fight to improve air quality.” The move, hailed by the New York Federation of Taxi Drivers too, is part of Bloomberg’s plan to cut the city’s carbon emissions 30 percent by 2030.