No Go On Hybrid Taxi Mandate
"In response to the judge's order, the city signaled that it would seek to achieve similar results by other means, perhaps by creating a system of incentives that would effectively push most cab owners to buy hybrid vehicles instead of the less fuel-efficient Ford Crown Victoria model that is the workhorse of today's taxi fleet.
The judge, Paul A. Crotty, of Federal District Court in Manhattan, issued an injunction to stop the city from enforcing the rule because, he said in a written order, the plaintiffs were likely to succeed in a key legal argument -that only the federal government has the right, under existing laws, to set fuel efficiency standards.
Many in the taxi industry have resisted the change, however, claiming that the available hybrids were not designed for the rough-and-tumble duty of New York cabs and were more prone to costly breakdowns. They have also argued that the lighter and smaller hybrids are less safe, with occupants more likely to be injured in accidents. Judge Crotty said that questions of safety were not factors in his decision."