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Chicago Cabbies: Electrify Your Life

By Amy Mikel in News on Jun 12, 2008 7:30PM

taxicab.JPGCould Chicago cabs be going hybrid? Finance Committee Chairman Edward M. Burke (14th) and Transportation Committee Chairman Tom Allen (38th) are proposing a city mandate requiring cab companies to begin incorporating hybrids into their fleet of vehicles, with a complete conversion of all Chicago cabs by January 1, 2014:

Starting next year, they want every new or replacement cab that hits the streets to be either gas-electric hybrid or powered by innovative fuels, including compressed natural gas, biodiesel, propane and hydrogen.

The model is similar to NYC, which began converting to hybrid and fuel efficient cabs in November of 2005. Mayor Bloomberg plans to convert 20% of the city’s fleet each year.

Chicago cab drivers are protesting the proposed mandate, which they say could add upwards of $10,000 to the cost of purchasing a new vehicle, and which could lead to a bevy of new maintenance headaches:

"I don't want to have a guinea pig of a car for a cab. These hybrids are not proven durable commercial vehicles. Until the Police Department and fleet buyers start using hybrids, cab companies shouldn't be forced to put on unproven vehicles for the sake of aldermen looking politically-correct and green," [cabbie George] Kasp said.

Image via thirdgradevocabchamp