Annotated Bibliography – Fuel Efficient Vehicles in NYC

To:                   Professor Samantha MacBride

From:              Megan Chiu

Date:               April 15, 2013

Re:                   Annotated Bibliography


Columbia University – SIPA Spring Workshop, A. “TRANSPORTING NEW YORK CITY”(2005), accessed March 5, 2013,

This report written by students of Columbia Universities School of International and Public Affairs explores the New York City initiatives to use green transportation technology. The main option that the students explored was hybrid vehicles, which parallels my research topic. Key benefits of hybrid cars as a green alternative include fuel efficiency, as well as cost savings after multiple years of use.

One of the policy recommendations is to apply the green initiative to a subgroup of the city’s automobile population. One of the groups that can be regulated most easily is the NYC taxi fleet. The proposition is to require a certain percentage of the fleet of taxis and yellow cabs to meet minimum fuel efficiency requirements. Ideally, the proposition will allow the city to identify the most successful fuel efficient vehicle for the taxi fleet.

I am using the source as part of my research because of the detail it goes into when reviewing the different policies implemented thus far in New York City. It is directly related to my topic of fuel-efficient transportation alternatives in the city, referring specifically to cars.


Anonymous. “Hybrid Taxis Will Cut Emissions by 215,000 Tons in Next FiveYears.” BioCycle 48, no. 6 (June 2007): 6, accessed March 1, 2013.

This article reports on Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s efforts to reduce air pollution and emissions drastically by introducing hybrid taxis. According to the article, hybrid taxis will save the equivalent of 30,000 cars’ emissions. The plan, as part of PlaNYC, is to increase the number of hybrid taxis from 375 in 2007 to 1,000 in 2008 and eventually 10,000 by 2011.

Mayor Bloomberg’s initiative is an example of how the city has tried to implement programs to reduce emissions in the city. The success, or failure, of this plan, is an indication of the sustainability and permanence of the program for New York City.

The data from this source will serve as a benchmark for the air pollution reduction standards that the city hopes to achieve within the next few years. The figures mentioned in the article will help me cross referencing the progress made in terms of increasing green vehicles with other statistics.


Gao, H. Oliver, and Vincent Kitirattragarn. 2008. “Taxi Owners’ Buying Preferences of Hybrid-electric Vehicles and Their Implications for Emissions in New York City.” Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice 42 (8) (October): 1064–1073.

The authors explore the benefits of hybrid taxis in the New York City taxi fleet. According to the article, the brake technology in hybrid cars increases fuel efficiency, which also benefits city drivers as they are often braking. In turn, this leads to lower fuel usages and higher mileage, especially in light of high fuel prices.

The article summarizes the authors’ findings of a survey of taxi drivers’ preferences, which are important because they have the power to control the market penetration of hybrid vehicles in the taxi fleet. The surveys found that the two most important factors to taxi drivers when considering which vehicle they want to purchase next are the vehicle cost and the maintenance cost. The environmental impact of the car was the fourth most important aspect, according to correlation coefficients.

As previously mentioned, this article discusses many of the barriers to entry for green and hybrid vehicles in the market, particularly the taxi fleet. These will serve as counter-arguments to why hybrid and electric cars in New York City may not prove to be a sustainable initiative. If a large population of drivers, that is, taxi drivers, is not convinced that they should spend the extra money for a green taxi, then they will choose a conventional car for their next taxi. However, by addressing the concerns of the taxi drivers, the city can cater the initiatives to the concerns of the taxi drivers and thus convince them to purchase green vehicles.


“Exploring Electric Vehicle Adoption in New York City.” 2010, accessed March 31, 2013.

The largest concern is market penetration of electric vehicles in New York City. As a part of PlaNYC, the city is researching ways to pinpoint the benefits that early supporters of electric vehicles and convince other potential consumers to convert to using Electric Vehicles. According to the city, 22% of the air pollution in New York City comes from transportation, which includes cars.

As a supporting point for whether or not the idea is sustainable and the goals achievable, the federal government is a supporter of the PlaNYC Drive Electric NYC initiative as well. One of the drawbacks found in the city’s research is the lack of publication and information about electric vehicles. New York drivers are reportedly less familiar with electric vehicle performance, costs, and emission levels. The article states that by addressing the education issue, New York will be able to accommodate and welcome a new fleet and influx of consumer electric vehicles. The point about the drawback mentioned in the briefing will be important to consider when determining the longevity of the initiative.


Rahman, Hashim. 2011. “NYC Taxi Ruling May Make Cities Tread Carefully.” Planning 77 (6) (July): 8.

This article reports on one of the roadblocks officials face in implementing hybrid vehicle taxi fleets. According to the courts, the initiative to mandate the purchase and use of hybrid and green air technology vehicles as part of the NYC taxi fleet is illegal as it is trying to regulate clean air and fuel. However, there are already federal policies regulating clean air and fuel consumption, the Clean Air Act and the Energy Policy and Conservation Act.

These federal regulations have major impacts on New York City’s ability to adopt a green fleet. Since the courts feel that the hybrid initiative oversteps the boundaries of the federal government’s regulations, requiring taxi drivers to purchase new hybrid vehicles will be a challenge for PlaNYC programmers. This article will be useful in arguing against the sustainability and potential of a creating a hybrid fleet.


Carpenter, Tommy, Andrew Curtis, and S Keshav. “The Return On Investmentfor Taxi Companies Transitioning to Electric Vehicles,” accessed April 12, 2013.

This research paper concludes that after conducting a cost-benefit analysis of using electric vehicles as part of taxi fleet, it is actually beneficial to a city to convert its fleet. However, the survey, which was conducted in San Francisco, does not necessarily mean that it will absolutely have the same results in New York City, though the findings do suggest success. Some of the issues raised in the case study are ideal powering stations for electric vehicles and a total restructuring of the transportation industry.

This is an interesting source to use because the case study takes place in a city similar to and on a similar scale as New York City. California is much more proactive in terms of its air pollution reduction and regulation policies. This is an example of the type of information that can persuade taxi drivers and fleet owners to consider switching over to green vehicles.


“Fact Sheet for Alternative Fuel System Conversions – NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation.” 2013. Accessed April 16.

This fact sheet summarizes the legal changes that can be made to vehicles in order to make them more fuel efficient and compliant with federal regulations such as the Clean Air Act. One of the important points of this fact sheet is that the New York policies are based on California’s laws, which demonstrates the power of influence and high standards California has set in the field of clean air technology.

These pieces of legislature will be important to my research paper because they are compliant with the federal regulations that oversee environmental and air pollution initiatives. Compared to the blanket policies that New York City tried to implement by imposing a mandate to convert all taxis to hybrid or fuel-efficient vehicles, the policies stated in this fact sheet may be better guiding principles for new environmental policies.

*Citations made using Chicago Manual of Style, Author-Date formatting

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