Taxis provide a useful service for travelers and help urban dwellers go green by reducing their need to own a car of their own. Unfortunately, until fairly recently, most taxis got poor gas mileage – averaging 10-15 miles per gallon – and were major contributors to local air pollution. For example, taxis are estimated to be the source of 24% of particulate matter pollution in Central London, and produce 4% of the total carbon emissions of New York City.
In an effort to reduce carbon emissions and cut back on air pollution from taxis, many cities have enacted new fuel efficiency rules for taxis in recent years. For example, nearly 60% of San Francisco’s taxi fleet is now made up of hybrid-CNG powered vehicles. Some creative entrepreneurs are taking efforts to green taxi services even further.
If you enjoy driving but care about the environment, a green taxi service may be the perfect green business opportunity for you!
Starting a Green Taxi Service
Of course, most green taxi services rely on hybrid or electric vehicle to power their fleet, but here are four creative ideas for a more unique green taxi service:
- A taxi for one. Most taxis carry a single passenger, but have enough room for three or more. Since it uses nearly as much gasoline to carry around one passenger as it does to carry around three, this contributes to higher fares for riders and increased pollution in the environment. To solve this problem, clever green entrepreneurs Justin and Martin Ott started cab4one in London last year. cab4one’s super fuel efficient fleet is just half the size of a regular taxi – perfect for a single passenger and luggage – and gets up to 85 miles per gallon. The fuel savings allow the brothers to offer extremely competitive rates, while helping save the environment at the same time!
- Biodiesel-powered taxis. Powering vehicles with biodiesel can reduce carbon emissions by 78% over traditional petroleum diesel and also produces substantially fewer pollutants. It is commonly made from used cooking oil, so it does not have the same effect on food prices as some other biofuels. Biodiesel powered vehicles are already becoming popular with green courier services, lunch trucks, and other mobile green businesses, and they are also a great choice for taxi and shuttle services.
Pedal powered taxis. Though not suitable for long trips, pedal powered taxis can be a great way to make short trips in dense urban areas. Since many cities allow them to use bike lanes, they are typically faster than walking or driving on congested city streets, and offer cheaper rates because fuel and maintenance costs are greatly reduced. The Irish pedal powered taxi service Ecocabs is even able to offer its service free of charge due to support from sponsors!
- NEV taxis. NEVs, or Neighborhood Electric Vehicles, are low speed vehicles that, like pedal powered taxis, can be great ways to carry passengers for short trips on roads with top speed limits of 45 mph or less. For example, NEVs are already growing in popularity as an inexpensive and eco-friendly option at airports and can be used much like an old-fashioned trolley in tourist districts or other areas where people need to be shuttled between popular destinations.
Main image credit: FaceMePLS