New York City's Black Cars Must Turn Green

NEW YORK, New York, April 20, 2008 (ENS) – The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission has unanimously approved a regulation requiring that, as of January 1, 2009, all black car vehicles coming into service must be capable of achieving a city mileage rating of 25 miles per gallon. The city’s 10,000 black cars service corporate clientele.

One year later, as of January 1, 2010, all new black car vehicles must have a minimum city driving rating of 30 mpg.

“The Commission’s unanimous vote has once again proven that New York is the most progressive city in the nation. As did the similar requirements for medallion taxicabs, this regulation – the first of its kind anywhere – will create the cleanest, greenest large city black car fleet in the world,” said TLC Commissioner and Chairman Matthew Daus following Thursday’s vote.

“Perhaps the most exciting aspect of this initiative for the black car industry itself will be the fuel savings realized by driver/owners,” said Daus.

“Black will be the new green for the black car industry,” he said, “and drivers will see a new shade of green when they save money every time they fill up at the fuel pump.”

A Black Lincoln Town Car waits for its passengers
near New York’s Empire State building.
(Photo credit unkown)

The iconic New York City black car is a spacious Lincoln Town Car. Fuel economy estimates for the 2008 model Lincoln Town Car are 15 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway if fueled by gasoline. The ethanol fueled E85 version is rated at 11 miles per gallon in the city. To meet the new requirements, companies will likely purchase smaller hybrid cars.

Daus thanked the business and environmental leaders whose companies are partnering to create an investment fund that will to help black car drivers finance the clean vehicles’ higher down payments.

These partners include John Acierno, president of the Executive Transportation Group; Kathryn Wylde, president of the Partnership for New York City; Seth Waugh, CEO, Deutsche Bank Americas; and Scott Freidheim, co-chief administrative officer of Lehman Brothers.

He also thanked black car industry leaders for their hard work and cooperation on this initiative.

Black cars release 272,000 tons of CO2 equivalents annually, which make up two percent of the city’s transportation related emissions. Under the new standards, emissions from black cars will be cut in half.

“It is great news for all New Yorkers that the Taxi and Limousine Commission unanimously voted to turn city black cars green,” Mayor Bloomberg said on Friday.

“The Commission approved our proposal, part of PlaNYC, to boost fuel efficiency standards in the black cars that service corporate clients to a level currently achievable only by using hybrid technology,” the mayor said.

“This will mean lowered fuel costs for black car drivers who often idle, reduced emissions for residents, and keep us moving towards our long-term goal of creating a truly sustainable city,” said the mayor, who thanked the corporations that use black cars “for their cooperation and leadership throughout this process.”

In December 2007, the Taxi and Limousine Commission approved new emissions and mileage standards for New York’s yellow taxicabs that will lead to a fully hybrid fleet by 2012.

Taxis can be hailed by anyone on the street, while black cars are employed by corporations to drive their executives or by wealthy private individuals.

The new yellow cab standards are being phased in over a four-year period and will reduce the carbon emissions of New York City’s taxicab and for-hire vehicle fleet by 50 percent over the next decade.

The Commission will now require the more than 23,000 yellow and black regulated cars in New York City to be more fuel efficient. City officials estimate that individual operators will save an average of $10,000 a year in fuel costs.

On Earth Day 2007, Mayor Bloomberg, released PlaNYC, a comprehensive sustainability plan for the City’s future through 2030.

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