Supreme Court says NYC cannot force hybrids on taxi companies

New York City's Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, suffered a major blow today when his attempt to force all taxis in his city to be hybrids was rejected by the Supreme Court.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg first announced back in 2007 that he would move to require all taxi cabs operating in his city to be hybrid vehicles by 2012 after learning that Ford was planning on discontinuing the Crown Victoria.

Of course, taxi companies weren't fond of the idea given the increased costs associated with swapping out their entire fleet, so the Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade launched a legal battle to stop the mandate. The Taxicab Board has since enjoyed many small victories in the lower courts, and as of this week, a major victory as the Supreme Court has said it will not hear the city's appeal, according to DailyTech.

Prior to the case reaching the Supreme Court, a judge in a lower level court ruled, "The power to regulate emissions standards belongs to the federal government." the city has also sought to require at least 25 miles per gallon for all cabs, and to allow cab owners to hike lease rates for hybrid models. All aspects of the plan were rejected by the Supreme Court.

It was that same sentiment that was shared by the Supreme Court, and seen as the reason Bloomberg's attempt to force taxicabs to adopt hybrid powertrains will most likely ultimately fail.

Is the law even necessary?
Even without the government mandating the switch to hybrids, it appears that many taxicab companies have been slowly making the shift on their own accord as their aging fleets come up for replacement. In 2007 when Bloomberg first proposed the new law, New York City has just 375 hybrid taxis, and 11,700 Ford Crown Victorias running the streets swathed in yellow.

Today, Crown Victorias have dwindled down to 8,200, and hybrids have increased over 10-fold to 4,300 vehicles.

Bloomberg won't give up - yet
After suffering a losing blow in the courts, Bloomberg decided he would better try his luck in another brand of the government: Congress. The mayor said he will now attempt to lobby Congress and appeal to them to make a law that would force the adoption of hybrids on private businesses in New York City, and possibly the rest of the U.S.

"We are disappointed that the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to clarify a law that has very large nationwide environmental implications," said city Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo.

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