NLC Joins Defense of New York's Clean Vehicle Promotion Law

November 29, 2010
Just before Thanksgiving, NLC joined an amicus brief filed by the City of Chicago in support of New York City's petition for certiorari in City of New York v. Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade. 

In the case, New York asks the Supreme Court to rule that federal law - the Energy Policy and Conservation Act and Clean Air Act - does not prevent it from enacting regulations to promote clean vehicle use. 

Specifically being challenged by taxi fleet owners is New York City's use of pricing incentives to get them to buy more fuel efficient vehicles. New York City wants to allow owners of medallions used on hybrid electric taxicabs and clean diesel taxicabs to charge more per shift than could owners of non-hybrid taxicabs. 

The previous regulatory scheme had for years required fleet owners to purchase large sedans and, more recently to purchase only Ford Crown Victorias. Even after New York permitted hybrid vehicles as an alternative, the leasing rates insulated fleet owners from significant economic consequences of their decisions to continue purchasing Crown Victorias because drivers, rather than fleet owners, bear the cost of fuel. 

This is the second time New York has tried to get fleet owners to buy fuel efficient vehicles. 

Its 2007 attempt to impose minimum fuel standards for taxicabs was found by the courts to be pre-empted by federal law. 

In July, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled yet again against New York City.