Chicago lawmakers trying to get taxi fleet to clean up by 2014; cabbies not happy

Photo by Mister-E. Licensed under Creative Commons license 2.0.

What's worse, suffering under $4 gallons of gas or having to buy a new, more efficient (but also very expensive) vehicle? For the drivers of the 6,700 taxis in Chicago, this question is being forced upon them by the City government. Two Aldermen are trying to pass a rule that will mandate that all of the city's taxicabs go green (in this case, this means a "gas-electric hybrid or powered by innovative fuels, including compressed natural gas, biodiesel, propane and hydrogen," according to CBS2 Chicago) soon. Since cabs in the city need to be replaced every four years, and the proposed rules would mandate that each new cab meet those green parameters, the Windy City's entire fleet would be cleaned up by 2014 if the rule kicks in next year as hoped. Currently, there are only 50 hybrid taxis in Chicago.

This all sounds good, but cabbies are pretty peeved. They just raised prices by $1 a ride to try and recover some of the increased fuel prices, but they're still not making money like they used to. Their biggest complain is that the hybrid premium is just too much to ask drivers and companies to swallow (although their claim that hybrids can cost $10,000 more than the standard vehicle they're replacing is a bit of a scare tactic).

[Source: CBS2 Chicago]

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