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Green light for NYC's yellow cabs to go hybrid

This city's mayor says the signature yellow taxis will all be running on hybrid power by 2012 to reduce air pollution and help prevent climate change.

Michael Bloomberg, who earlier this year announced an ambitious program to cut the city's greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2030, announced on Tuesday that the cars would start to be phased in immediately. "The idea is to make our cabs more efficient," Bloomberg told NBC TV. "We have to do something. There's too much traffic and too much stuff in the air. We're not green enough." The city's 13 000 taxis average almost 17 liters of petrol per 100km, he said, while the new fleet would get around eight liters/100km.

Taxis usually have a working life of five years so, Bloomberg said, the entire fleet should be hybrid by 2012. "We're trying to do what's right," he explained. "There's an awful lot of taxicabs on the streets of New York City and they sit in traffic belching fumes. It'll be a lot better for all of us." The city was also working on introducing hybrid buses, garbage trucks and cars for its own fleet and Bloomberg also wants to see "congestion" charges on commuters entering Manhattan, more parks from relaiming derelict industrial sites, cleaner water and a million trees planted over the next 10 years. His environmental campaigning and recent trips to other parts of the US to speak on issues of national importance have fuelled speculation that he could be preparing to run for president in 2008. (