As part of the City of Boston’s continuing commitment to sustainable transportation, the CleanAir Cabs program was launched on April 1, 2007. Boston CleanAir Cabs is a partnership of government agencies, private businesses, and community members dedicated to reducing the burdens of fuel costs, air pollution, and occupational health exposures related to the city’s taxi cab fleet. The program promotes replacing older fuel-inefficient cabs with hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles as the existing fleet ages out. The CleanAir Cabs program helps drivers save money on gas (keeping more of what you earn), helps owners improve their fleet and earn more, and protects the health of everyone in Boston by reducing air pollution and climate change. If you're a cab owner, consider purchasing a hybrid or alternative fuel vehicle the next time you have to replace a car. If you're a taxi customer, look for the green stripe that marks CleanAir Cab vehicles or ask for a CleanAir Cab when you call for a pickup.
Benefits for Drivers
The most important benefit of the CleanAir Cabs program for drivers is that it makes economic sense. Hybrid taxi cabs can get up to three times as many miles per gallon of fuel as the old Crown Victoria cabs. This means less money spent at the pump so that the driver can keep more of the fares he earns.
In April 2005, a hybrid Ford Escape was used to follow a working taxi cab (1999 Crown Victoria from Green Cab of Somerville, MA) on his route. Over a 9-hour shift they drove 97 miles. During that time, the Crown Victoria used 10.25 gallons of gas while the hybrid used only 3.77 gallons. That turns into real savings during a work week as this graph shows:
Benefits for Owners
If you don't lease the cab but own and drive your own vehicle, you get the added benefit of federal tax credits of up to $3,000 for the purchase of a new hybrid vehicle. For more information, contact the Taxpayers Incentive Assistance Project at www.energytaxincentives.org. Owners who lease their cabs out to drivers benefit from the tax credit and a slightly higher lease rate to the driver. Also, owners are reporting that their hybrid cars are very much in demand and spend more time on the road instead of sitting idle in the garage. These benefits can add up to $30,000 or more in extra profit over the 5-year life of the car even with finance payments and insurance on a new car instead of a used car.
Benefits to Boston Residents
Hybrid cabs help protect the health of the citizens of Boston. Because the average taxi cab can spend up to 18 hours per day driving around the city, replacing even one car with a hybrid can result in huge reductions in engine exhaust and greenhouse gas emissions. Engine exhaust includes fine particulate matter, nitrogen compounds, and volatile organic compounds. These pollutants are unhealthy for everyone, but can be especially harmful to people with asthma and other respiratory illnesses or heart disease. Vehicle exhaust can even trigger asthma attacks. Asthma attacks send kids to the hospital five times as often in Boston as in the rest of Massachusetts. Driving a CleanAir Cab produces between 50% and 89% less tailpipe emissions than the current taxi cabs. Removing these pollutants from our air will protect the health of everyone in and around Boston.
Burning less gasoline and producing fewer tailpipe emissions can also help slow global climate change which can contribute to numerous health and economic hardships. By one estimate, replacing even one old taxi cab with a hybrid could result in 300,000 to 500,000 less pounds of carbon dioxide emitted into the air over five years - even just driving one shift per day. Replacing all 1,800 cabs in the city fleet could result in up to 180 million pounds (that's 90,000 tons) of carbon dioxide not being released into the atmosphere.
To participate, the owner of the taxi must request approval of the Hackney Division to put a new CleanAir Cab vehicle on the road. You can get more information by calling the Hackney Division at 617-343-4475 or by visiting their web site.