If you need to grab a cab, opt for a hybrid taxi if you have the choice. You'll be saving gas, resulting in lower emissions.
Hybrid taxis are popping up all over the place, in part spurred by municipal programs that offer discount licensing on the cleaner models. Today you can find them in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Houston, Denver, Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., among others.
One of the most popular hybrid vehicles for taxi use so far has been the roomy, comfortable Ford Escape Hybrid, which boasts 36 mpg around town, and runs entirely off the battery at speeds less than 25 mph that means much lower emissions in stop-and-go congestion.
Fleet owners like hybrids because the nearly 200,000 taxis in North America drive an average of 10 times more than regular passenger cars: this means a typical cabbie will save more than $1,000 per month on gas with a hybrid. Even so, given the size of scale and entrenched nature of the taxi business, the transition to hybrids has often not been quick or smooth. That's why the Cleantech Venture Network has been working to help more services switch.
So if you call to request a car, ask if a hybrid is available (that will also signal companies that there's a demand). Or don't be shy about flagging one down on the street.
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