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USA: Weprin urges city to use electric taxis

Taxis make their way across an intersection in lower Manhattan. City Councilman Mark Weprin is proposing a bill that would encourage the city to implement zero-emission electric vehicles instead.

When it comes to environmental legislation, two City Council members have plugged into a bill they said has the potential to save the planet from harmful gas emissions.

Councilmen Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) and James Vacca (D-Bronx) have taken the wheel in drafting a bill that would encourage the city Taxi & Limousine Commission to use electric cars, which have zero transportation emissions, to help save the environment.

With more than 13,000 taxis patrolling the city streets, Weprin said the bill presents a major opportunity to reduce air pollution.

“Increasing the use of electric vehicles will reduce carbon emissions, protect the environment and make New York a more sustainable city for future generations,” Weprin said.

Weprin, chairman of the Council Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises, introduced the bill with Vacca last week to allow the TLC to approve electric vehicles for use as long as they meet the commission’s safety criteria.

“A dense city like New York is the perfect market for electric vehicles,” said Vacca, who chairs the Council Transportation Committee. “Although electric vehicles represent only a tiny portion of car users, the growth potential is enormous, and the city should be looking at any viable way to encourage electrical vehicle use.”

Electrical vehicles use a battery to store energy and charge through electrical power sources. The vehicles produce no direct exhaust or emissions, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

The city’s comprehensive sustainability plan, PlaNYC, released a report in January 2010 entitled “Exploring Electric Vehicle Adoption in New York City,” which developed a strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 by 30 percent from 2005 levels. According to the report, the goal would cut transportation emissions, which make up 22 percent of the entire city’s emissions, by 44 percent.


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