Take a trip to England and at some point you’re likely to sit in the back of a London taxi cab. 

Just as famous as its New York counterpart, the London taxi cab is known for its tight turning circle, iconic shape and the scores of native Cockney ‘cabbies’ which pilot them.

But if you’ll forgive us, most folks would not associate a cabbie with hypermiling, high fuel economy and advanced driving techniques. 

As it turns out, those stereotypical associations are a bit unfair. 

Because while there are now scores of Toyota Prii and even a few electric 2011 Nissan Leafs found in taxi fleets throughout the U.K., those who pilot the traditional London taxi cab are just as driven to lower their fuel bills and raise their fuel economy. 

Believe it or not, there’s even a social network and month-long competition to help cab drivers become more fuel efficient. 

Smarter Cab Drivers Challenge

Smarter Cab Drivers Challenge

Enter the Smarter Cab Drivers contest, otherwise known as the Shell Fuel Efficiency Challenge 2011.  Listing the real-time fuel economy of twenty contestant cab drivers from ten cities across the U.K. via internet-linked hardware in each cab, the site aims to promote greener driving techniques in the nation’s cab drivers.

The month-long competition will result in the four most fuel efficient drivers being put to the test against each other in London and Glasgow under strict manual fuel testing conditions to find the most efficient cab driver in the U.K. 

London traffic

London traffic

Of course, just twenty contestant cab drivers out of many thousands nationwide will hardly change attitudes to eco-driving overnight. 

But after the competition has ended, the fuel efficiency figures and the ways in which the contestants improved their fuel efficiency will be shared in a report by the Royal Society of Arts, which will circulate to local governments and taxi firms throughout the U.K. in order to make the humble taxi cab more environmentally friendly.