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March 2008 (B)

If you have not already heard, I have some news for you - “black is the new green” for the Black Car industry!

This past week, Mayor Bloomberg announced that black cars would be following their yellow cousins into the realm of environmental responsibility by requiring that all new vehicles coming into service achieve a city rating of 25 mpg as of January 1, 2009, and 30 mpg as of January 1, 2010.  Last May, Mayor Bloomberg announced that all new medallion taxicabs coming into the system after October 1, 2008 must achieve 25 mpg, and after October 1, 2009 – at least 30 mpg.  Here we are, almost one year later, and the Administration’s momentum continues with regard to implementing our PlaNYC for-hire ground transportation projects – and it will not be long before we will be celebrating these accomplishments on Earth Day.

Photo by Ed Reed

The popularity of hybrid vehicles really has been quite incredible.  There are 824 hybrid medallion taxicabs on the road as we speak and, aside from the raves we hear about how much money drivers are saving on gasoline, we have seen them maintain a significantly higher initial inspection passage rate.  We have even seen them catching on in the Black Car industry – without any prodding whatsoever – to the extent that there are 111 on the road today, which I am told is very indicative of the sensibilities of clients of the Black Car industry.  Corporate clients – such as black car users - are implementing policies to help the environment, including the use of more environmentally responsible vehicles.  While there are many reasons why having a hybrid is simply good business (including annual gas savings of more than $5,000 a year per vehicle amounting to over $30,000 over the course of a vehicle’s lifetime), I think the significance of cutting the Black Car industry’s carbon “wheel-print” – which is currently 272,000 tons of CO2 – in half, is more than compelling.

The implementation of the “green black car” initiative really transcends most of the components of the average debate.  Rather, it is more a matter of common sense and responsibility.  I know that the TLC’s Board of Commissioners, who may be voting on this important initiative as early as April, will understand the historic import of this plan – as they did when they unanimously voted for similar regulations for the yellow taxicab industry.

Many thanks go to the leaders of the Black Car industry, such as Victor Dizengoff, Berj Harotunian and John Acierno, who have worked hard with so many other bases and the black car users group to support the Mayor’s plan.  I look forward to continuing to work with them and many others in the industry to make “green” black cars a reality very soon.  Ultimately, not only do all those in and beyond New York City benefit from cleaner air, but drivers and owners will save money, and passengers will enjoy riding in new and literally “cleaner” vehicles.  So, everyone benefits, and I am highly confident that this initiative will bring the Black Car industry to new heights of customer service, prosperity and environmental sustainability for years to come.


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