The sight of rows of black Lincoln Town Cars filling the streets and curbs of Manhattan may soon be gone. With the city passing new emissions and fuel economy laws for its taxi fleets, the trusty Town Car does not come close to meeting the new regulations.
New cars that enter service starting January 1, 2009 must achieve at least 25 mpg in the city; in 2010, the figure jumps to 30 mpg. The problem for luxury taxi businesses is that there is no full-size sedan that comes close to meeting the requirements. Even the Lexus LS460h hybrid sedan returns an EPA city rating of 20 mpg.
For nearly thirty years, the Town Car has been the staple for “black car” operators in New York City. The cars mixed a spacious interior and luxury with dependability. Drivers said that a Lincoln Town Car could routinely last for 250,000 miles with regular maintenance.
Options for these businesses at this point include the Ford Escape and Mercury Mariner hybrids. Both of these crossovers get 34 miles per gallon in city conditions and both are available for under $40,000 – roughly the cost of the Town Car when new. Some worry about the luxury and capacity of these two models, but all know that a change from the typical Town Car is needed.
Source: New York Times