Boston Blocked From Turning Taxis Into Hybrids ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Boston Blocked From Turning Taxis Into Hybrids

Friday, August 14, 2009

Boston Blocked From Turning Taxis Into Hybrids

Once again, an effort to turn taxi fleets into hybrid fleets has been officially blocked by a judge.  The judge had granted a temporary injunction of the switchover, but has now officially ruled in favor of the cab owners.

The US District Court ruled in favor of the taxi owners. The Judge William G. Young ruled that Mayor Menino was infringing on the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975, which established fuel economy standards for vehicles and forbids local officials from setting up their own standards.

Young noted that his 10-year-old grandson had heard arguments recently in the case and wondered, ``Why can't Boston do what it wants with its taxis? It's for the environment.''

``The answer, Cam, is that the Congress of the United States, pursuing national goals it considers important, has forbidden Boston from taking this initiative on behalf of its citizens.''
Which is quite ridiculous on the face of things, but that seems to be the way the judges are going to decide this issue. The same argument was used in New York, and it made sense to the judge there, too.

Do these judges really feel this is what Congress intended? I doubt it. But that doesn't matter based on the rulings they've made.

Source: Judge rejects hybrid car mandate for Boston cabbies - Local News Updates - The Boston Globe

What it's really all about is money. Hybrids cost more to buy and outfit than Crown Vics. I've seen estimates of $4-$10,000 to buy and outfit a Crown Victoria Cab, while it can cost 2-4X as much to outfit a hybrid cab. 

So, cab owners do not want to switch over to hybrid cabs. Drivers, on the other hand, love hybrids because it saves them money when they drive around.

Boston wanted to switch over to hybrid taxis over a seven year period.  Boston may appeal to a higher court, or they may be forced to abandon the plan. The lawyer for the taxi owners says he "hopes that the Menino administration will instead sit down with cab drivers and discuss a less onerous way to improve fuel economy for taxis."

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