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Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced today that the City of Chicago’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) was named the 2012 Clean Fuels Champion by The Chicago Area Clean Cities Coalition (CACC). The City was honored for implementing positive change in Chicago’s taxi industry by dramatically increasing the number of hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles in the fleet. These reforms were led by Mayor Emanuel and went into effect in 2012.
“Chicago is a world class City and deserves world class transportation options,” said Mayor Emanuel. “I am committed to cleaning up the taxi industry in Chicago with cleaner, safer and more accessible vehicles, and the success of our green initiatives is evident on the streets today. The reforms in the taxi industry have not only made the industry safer and more efficient. The industry is also more economically viable and drivers are better able to earn a living as a result of these reforms.”
The award cites the City’s efforts to transform the fleet with the new taxi ordinance passed in January of 2012 that provides incentives for placing green taxis into service as well as the Green Taxi Program which supplemented the purchase or conversion of green vehicles. The results of these efforts are now widely evident on Chicago’s streets. In 2011 there were fewer than 500 green vehicles. Today, more than 3000 hybrid or alternative fuel vehicle serve as Chicago taxicabs, or 44% of the entire taxi fleet. The addition of these hybrid and efficient alternative fuel vehicles improve the City’s air quality by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and petroleum usage.
In addition to the increase in hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles, the new ordinance also incentivizes the purchase of wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs). Since ordinance passage in January, the number of WAVs in Chicago’s fleet has nearly doubled and is expected to continue to grow due to incentives in the new ordinance.
“We are honored to be recognized by the Chicago Area Clean Cities Coalition, and proud to see such positive change in the fleet. The new ordinance was designed to transform the industry. The dramatic increase in green vehicles and WAVS are proof that the new ordinance is moving the taxi industry in the right direction” said BACP Commissioner Rosemary Krimbel.
Since 2001, the Chicago Area Clean Cities Coalition annually presents the Clean Fuels Champion Award to an individual or organization that has gone above and beyond to promote the Clean Cities’ mission. Recipients of this award are selected by CACC’s executive board for their actions to enhance the use of clean fuels and clean vehicle technologies in the Chicago metropolitan area.