Green Taxis May be Heading to Chicago

New proposal requires all cabs to be eco-friendly by 2014

By Matt Bartosik
|  Thursday, Oct 23, 2008  |  Updated 10:26 PM CDT
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Green Taxis May be Heading to Chicago

David Hogarty

Not all of Chicago's cab companies are convinced, but if some aldermen get their way, eco-friendly cabs will be a must on city streets.

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Most of Chicago's taxis are yellow, orange, red, or white, but some aldermen would like to see more cabs go green.

Of the 6,700 taxis in the city, only about 60 are hybrid or fuel-alternative. That's less than one percent. On the other hand, nearly 11 percent of New York City's cabs are green, and a new law there will require all of them to be eco-friendly by 2012.

Ald. Edward Burke (14th) and Ald. Thomas Allen (38th) have drawn up a similar proposal, mandating that all Chicago's fleets be hybrids or fuel-alternative by 2014.

This may be easier said than done, however.

"One of the problems is the lack of availability of hybrids and fuel-alternative cars. We can't replace our cabs fast enough in New York or Chicago because of the limited amount on the market," Mark Levine, spokesman for Yellow Cab Company, told the Chicago Tribune's Red Eye. "Almost everybody wants one with the cost of gas these days."

The Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade also questions the safety of green cabs; they are smaller and lighter than traditional cars. Taxis also have to undergo heavier use than private vehicles.

"If given enough time, our company would definitely support having our taxis go green," said June Rosner, spokeswoman of Chicago Carriage Cab. "It's a good concept, but it's just too soon to tell."

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