Posts Tagged ‘David Assmann’

Attention San Francisco: A Gas-Powered Toyota Prius Taxi is Not an Alternative Fuel Vehicle

Monday, March 22nd, 2010

The Question of the Day is whether a car powered by regular old gasoline is an alternative fuel vehicle. Let’s go to the source, and let’s leave out the ifs, ands, or buts while we’re at it: 

Hybrid electric vehicles such as the Toyota Prius are not actually alternative fuel vehicles…”

So, now you’re up to speed when you read the latest Governing By Press Release press release below.

No Aaron, don’t put plain old gasoline into daddy’s anthropomorphic Prius, put in the alternative fuel instead:

via Goldberg

Now, when you want to abuse the English language, the proper way to do it is explicitly, the way they do it on Wikipedia. Or, indeed, the way the Feds do it when they define Canadian-made cars as “American” cars.

“Canada is considered to be part of the United States when determining the “domestic” content of cars. Let’s see what U.S. Code TITLE 49 > SUBTITLE VI > PART C > CHAPTER 323 > § 32304 Passenger motor vehicle country of origin ­labeling has to say:

“6. ‘foreign content’ means passenger motor vehicle equipment that is not of United States/Canadian origin.”

See? That’s how you show you know what you’re doing. That’s the way you do it.

Time for some remedial reading – how about Physics for Future Presidents instead of yet another damn poetry book? (You might not agree with everything in there and you might not enjoy the process, but you’d be a better person for it. This is not to say that a manager needs to spend all his or her time on the gritty nitty, but investing a few hours, a few days or so, well that’d be nice.)

Just saying.

“I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,'” Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t – till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!'”
“But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument,'” Alice objected.
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in a rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – that’s all.”
Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again.
“They’ve a temper, some of them – particularly verbs, they’re the proudest – adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs – however, I can manage the whole lot! Impenetrability! That’s what I say!”

Leaving you with the News of the Day:


San Francisco, CA— Mayor Gavin Newsom, the San Francisco Municipal
Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and the Department of the Environment joined
the San Francisco taxi industry today to announce that 57 percent of the
taxi fleet is comprised of hybrid or compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles.
There are 788 alternative fuel vehicles out of a total of 1,378 eligible
vehicles. The CNG vehicles account for 131 of those and the hybrids account
for 657.
“The clean taxi program shows that aggressive action is possible at the
local level to make major reductions in carbon emissions,” said Mayor
Newsom. “Today’s announcement reinforces our commitment to bringing these
emissions to zero.”
In addition, less than two years after the City passed a law requiring taxi
companies to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20 percent from
1990 levels by 2012, emissions from San Francisco taxis are now at 12
percent of 1990 levels. With only 8 percent in reductions remaining, the
taxi companies are now more than halfway in meeting the 20 percent required
by the legislation.
Phasing in hybrid electric and compressed natural gas (CNG) taxis into the
taxi fleet has resulted in roughly 35,000 tons of GHG emissions savings
each year, which is the same as reducing fuel consumption by 2.9 million
gallons per year. That is equivalent to taking 4,700 regular passenger cars
off of the road, or saving roughly $9.5 million dollars annually in fuel
“The SFMTA is proud to continue the work begun by the industry and the Taxi
Commission,” said Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., SFMTA Executive Director/CEO.
“This collaboration is an important part of creating a comprehensive
transportation system that is environmentally sustainable.”
This number of alternative fuel vehicles continues to rise because the
hybrid and CNG vehicles, while contributing to cleaner air for San
Francisco, are also very popular with taxi drivers. Although the fee
charged to a taxi driver to take out an alternative fuel vehicle is a bit
higher at $104.50 per 10-hour shift instead of $96.50 for a gasoline fueled
vehicle, the savings in fuel costs are substantial. For example, gasoline
for one shift is approximately $28 to $35, whereas filling up a hybrid
vehicle after a shift costs about half of that, around $15.  The hybrid
vehicles provide an additional economic benefit to taxi companies in that
they require less time and money for brake repairs. San Francisco’s hills
require the Crown Victoria taxis to have their brakes changed about once a
month. Hybrids can go six to eight months on a single set of brakes.
The gradual and flexible nature of the clean taxi program facilitated its
success. The program was accompanied by economic incentives from the City
to vehicle purchasers in the form of grant subsidies and gate fee increases
for alternative fuel vehicles. The SFMTA has continued the work of the
former Taxi Commission in coordination with the Department of the
Environment to encourage companies to purchase alternative fuel vehicles by
providing a Clean Air Taxi Grant incentive. Grants of $2,000 per new
alternative fuel vehicle are available to purchasers on a first come-first
served basis. The SFMTA merged with the Taxi Commission in March 2009 and
will oversee the ongoing upgrade of the San Francisco taxi fleet.
“Innovative solutions like the clean taxi program will keep San Francisco
beautiful,” said David Assmann, SF Environment Acting Director. “By working
in concert with the industry, San Francisco has created a program that gets
San Francisco currently has 1,474 taxis in service. Of these, 96 are ramp
taxi vehicles that are not subject to clean air vehicle requirements due to
the lack of good alternative fuel wheelchair accessible vans available on
the market. San Francisco taxi vehicles typically have about a four year
useful life and must be taken out of service once they have reached 350,000
The clean taxi ordinance was drafted in 2007 and originally published as
Police Code Section 1135.3.  The SFMTA re-enacted the requirement as
Transportation Code, Division II, Sections 1106(m) (emissions reductions)
and 1114(e)(9)(A) (annual reporting requirement). The next report from taxi
companies on their plans for vehicle upgrades going forward is due June 1.