Not only is San Francisco’s fleet of hybrid taxicabs cutting down on emissions, but the new vehicles also are helping drivers save a bundle in fuel costs.
More than 92 percent of The City’s roughly 1,500 taxicabs are hybrid vehicles or powered by alternative energy such as compressed natural gas. As a result, San Francisco has been able to far outpace the goals set in a 2008 ordinance designed to reduce taxicab emissions.
That legislation set a 2012 goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent of 1990 levels. In fact, such emissions have been reduced by 49 percent, city officials say.
The alternative-energy vehicles also are more efficient, meaning drivers don’t have to stop for costly fill-ups as often. According to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which regulates cabs, taxi drivers save an average of $11 million a year in fuel costs with the new cars.
“San Francisco’s clean taxi program has exceeded all expectations,” said Mayor Ed Lee, who inherited the initiative from former Mayor Gavin Newsom. “San Francisco taxicabs are the cleanest in the U.S. and a model to other taxi fleets around the world.”