Ford First With Natural Gas Taxis on New York Streets

Aug 21, 1997, 01:00 ET from Ford Motor Company

    NEW YORK, Aug. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Like many concerned parents, New York
 City taxi driver Silvio Martinez wants clean air for his children, and he's
 doing something about it.
     Martinez today accepted the keys to a new Ford (NYSE:   F) Crown Victoria
 natural gas-powered taxi cab at Universal Ford in Long Island City, New York,
 becoming one of the first cab drivers to purchase a natural gas version of the
 popular sedan.  The car is the first factory-built alternative fuel vehicle to
 be used in New York's taxi fleet.
     "I see buying my natural gas Crown Victoria as the way I can personally
 make a difference," says Martinez.  "The fuel is less expensive, the
 performance is great and it will be an important step in cleaning up the air
 for my children and my grandchildren."  In fact, if the city's 11,700
 medallion cabs were operated on natural gas, 2600 tons of pollution annually
 would be eliminated from New York City's air.
     The taxicab sedan is based on Ford's NGV Crown Victoria and is the
 cleanest internal combustion car on the road today meeting stringent federal
 and California emissions standards.  "This means significantly lower levels of
 carbon monoxide, reactive carbons and nitrogen oxide are emitted from the
 vehicle," said John Wallace, director of Ford's Alternative Fuel Vehicle
     "The natural gas taxicab is another example of Ford's ongoing commitment
 to develop alternative fuel vehicles that are of the highest quality, meet
 customer needs and make significant contributions to the environment," said
 Wallace.  "New York cabbies have been asking that an alternative fuel vehicle
 give them the ability to drive a full shift without having to refuel -- this
 taxicab delivers that range."
     Through a variety of monetary incentives, the State of New York, Ford and
 Brooklyn Union are encouraging taxi drivers to purchase natural gas vehicles.
 Under new laws in the city, cab drivers are all required to buy a new vehicle
 between now and April 2000.  A natural gas vehicle will be allowed to remain
 in use for two years longer than a gasoline-powered taxicab.
     Brooklyn Union will supply a free month of fuel for each natural gas
 taxicab purchased.  Support for the project is also being offered by New York
 State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the Gas Research
 Institute.  Additional support has come from New York City's Taxi and
 Limousine Commission, Department of Transportation and the Mayor's Office of
 Transportation and the Texas General Land Office.
     Brooklyn Union is opening a new natural gas fueling station at John F.
 Kennedy Airport to help support the need for increased fuel infrastructure in
 the city.  Two more stations will be added in the near future.  The company
 also maintains 13 other refueling stations in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten
 Island and has been a leader in promoting the use of natural gas as a
 transportation fuel for almost two decades.  Today, Brooklyn Union dispenses
 1.9 million equivalent gallons of natural gas annually.  The U.S. Department
 of Energy recently recognized Brooklyn Union for having one of the leading
 alternative fuel fleets in the nation.
     The NGV Crown Victoria is one vehicle in a lineup of Ford natural gas
 products that also includes a dedicated natural gas F-250 pickup truck and
 Econoline van and bi-fuel Ford Contour sedan, F-Series pickup and Econoline
 van.  Ford offers the industry's broadest range of alternative fuel vehicles
 (AFVs) and last year sold more than 90 percent of all AFVs in the United

SOURCE Ford Motor Company