New York Taxis Going Green With Propane

New York's iconic yellow taxi fleet is about to get a new addition - with cabbies having the option of propane-autogas powered vehicles as the ply the Big Apple's streets. (image: rumors.automobilemag.com)

New York’s iconic fleet of yellow taxis is about to get a propane injection.

The New York Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) has approved the Ford Transit Connect for cabbie use in the Big Apple, and the new additions are about to join the city’s 13,000-strong taxi fleet. The aging Ford Crown Victoria taxicabs has cruised the five boroughs’ roads for decades, but are due to be replaced. Ford will close the Canadian plant that builds the Crown Victoria next month.

In their place, the new Transit Connect, which have already been rolled out in other US cities, will feature standard two-liter, four-cylinder gas engines hooked to an automatic transmission. Ford says they return a fuel economy of 23 mpg – about 30 percent better than many of today’s traditional taxis.

But the big news for Propane.pro readers is that Ford also offers engine conversions to CNG (compressed natural gas) and, you guessed it, LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) – more commonly known as propane.

“For decades, Ford has been synonymous with New York City taxis, and we are pleased residents and tourists now will benefit from our next-generation vehicle,” said Mark Fields, Ford president of The Americas.

A switch to alternative gas-powered engines will enable the taxicabs to achieve even bigger fuel savings as well as lower carbon emissions, helping to reduce air pollution in the world’s greatest city.

Propane is already the third most popular vehicle fuel behind gasoline and diesel. With world oil prices hovering near $100 a barrel, propane autogas is much cheaper. But it is also much cleaner-burning, generating up to 90 percent less carbon monoxide, ozone and hydrocarbon emissions than traditional vehicle fuels.

Propone is a byproduct of natural gas processing and crude oil refining. About 90 percent comes from domestic sources and supply in the US is forecast to increase as the hydraulic fracturing allows gas producers to tap America’s copious shale reserves.

Metropolitan Taxicab Board of Trade president Ron Sherman said New York’s 35 taxi fleets could transition to the new cabs – including the propane-powered vehicles – by this fall.

Ford has been a great partner with the New York City taxi industry for decades, and this vehicle represents its commitment to the future of the taxi industry throughout the country.