(David L. Ryan/Globe Staff)
(David L. Ryan/Globe Staff)
We're not sure whose victory this is — the Boston taxi drivers in beat-up Ford Crown Victorias, the police departments unloading these defunct cruisers on the cab companies, or Ford itself, which only sells Vics to fleets &mdash but one thing is clear: Boston can't mandate an all-hybrid taxi fleet by 2015.
A story this afternoon on Boston.com reported a federal judge's decision that the city had "exceeded its legal authority" by going above the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1975, which says local officials can't set their own fuel economy standards. The city may appeal.
It's an odd ruling given that several states, including Massachusetts, have followed California in requiring manufacturers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2016. In January, the EPA granted a waiver to California and its 13 followers, effectively allowing a double standard for fuel economy.
But the big problem in Boston is that the city would bar taxi companies from purchasing used hybrids. Being forced to buy new cars and pay a premium for hybrid technology was a direct threat to many businesses, the Boston Taxi Owners Association had argued.
The ruling isn't stopping Boston Cab Association from moving to an all-hybrid fleet in three years. Currently, two-fifths of its 500 cabs are hybrids, according to its website, a mix of Toyota Camrys, Nissan Altimas, and the new Ford Fusion.
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About Boston Overdrive
|Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
|Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
In the garage: 2006 Subaru Baja
|John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England, a certified mechanic, and a Globe columnist. He hosts a weekly radio show on WROL.
In the garage: Hyundai Sante Fe, Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible
|Craig Fitzgerald has been writing about cars, motorcycles, and the automotive industry since 1999. He is the former editor of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.
In the garage: 1968 Buick Riviera, 1996 Buick Roadmaster, 1974 Honda CB450
|Keith Griffin is president of the New England Motor Press Association and edits the used car section on About.com. He also writes for the Hartford Business Journal and various weekly newspapers in Connecticut.
In the garage: Mazda 5, Dodge Neon
|George Kennedy is a senior writer for WheelsTV in Acton, which produces video reviews for Yahoo, MSN, and other auto websites.
In the garage: Lifted 1999 Jeep Cherokee