Corporate clients have long grown accustomed to being shuttled around in the back seats of Panther-platform Fords. The throwback Town Car that most car services run doesn't exactly sip fuel, so T.J. Donaghy of Orlando, Florida decided a Toyota Camry Hybrid would be a good addition to his fleet at Aristocrat Transportation. City officials have denied Donaghy's attempt at greening his livery fleet, reasoning that the Camry doesn't fit any of the five classes of vehicles for hire that the City of Orlando regulates. The city contends that the type of service offered by Donaghy can only use luxury cars. Adding to the confusion, the city has no exact language defining exactly what comprises a luxury vehicle, but like Potter Stewart, they know it when they see it, and it's not the Camry.

There is a real concern that opening things up for the Camry could have Kia Rios running around as "limousines" if some line in the sand is not drawn, but the high price of fuel along with ongoing greening efforts may make the path easier for the Camry. Other communities in Florida already allow Camry hybrids, also setting some precedent. It seems that the crux of the dustup is the idea of what exactly a "luxury" working car is, and how to fit the Camry Hybrid in somewhere without stretching the definition so much that King Midgets could get a free pass. All of this could have been avoided if Donaghy had just coughed up the loot for an LS600hL, though the Hybrid Synergy Drive system in that vehicle is used to bolster performance instead of fuel economy. Thanks for the tip, Bill!

[Source: Orlando Sentinel]