This past weekend was the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in Denver, and I had the pleasure to get a front row seat at the "step off" point. Part of the fun of a parade, at least from a car enthusiast perspective, is to see the cars that will be participating. This year however there was a surprise in the parade that I wasn't expecting, a Prius in a Yellow Cab paint job.

Yes, it turns out that the Yellow Cab Company here in Denver is on a green initiative and this doesn't just include using Toyota Prius'. Also joining the cabby fleet are Ford Escape Hybrids and Ford Crown Victoria's with a propane conversion. Using alternative fuel vehicles, including Hybrids, is not new to the City of Denver-- several of the City's fleets run on Propane and even the free 16th Street Mall Ride buses are Hybrids. Personally, I think that it is a logical step for another one of the Denver's main service providers, the taxi companies, to start thinking "green."

After doing more research (my interest was piqued standing on the parade route), it turns out that the Yellow Cab Company isn't the only Denver taxi company looking towards sustainability. The Metro Taxi Company has also brought on-board several Toyota Prius'. In addition to that, the Metro Taxi Company has made a statement on their website talking about the impact of switching from regular cabs to hybrids. According to the Metro Taxi website, converting 1 taxi to a hybrid vehicle is the equivalent of converting 5 non-commercial vehicles or personal consumer vehicles.

2009 Toyota Prius

2009 Toyota Prius

This "green" statement is further punctuated by the company's statements on the differences of using a hybrid taxi as compared to using a regular gas-powered Ford Crown Victoria. The Metro Taxi Company states that a normal Ford Crown Victoria gets about 11 mpg on average, where as with their Toyota Prius Hybrids they are achieving between 50-60 mpg (which is a bit suspect, since the current Prius tops out in EPA numbers at 48/45 mpg). That is a pretty remarkable difference, and should be enough to convince anyone that any taxi cab company in the nation should switch to some amount of hybrid vehicles in their fleet.

Just in case you are still skeptical, the Metro Taxi Company also reports that over an average cab usage of 70,000 miles a year, a hybrid taxi would save 5,090 gallons of gas a year and they estimate that if they replaced the entire fleet the company would save 2.5 million gallons of gas per year.

Frankly, the above is the best argument I have heard yet for hybrids. My opinion-- it makes a lot of sense to target the vehicle populations that are on the road the most. Can you image in all of New York City was running on hybrid or electric taxis?


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