Efficient Vehicles Where It Counts Most

A blog about business and economics.
April 9 2012 8:27 AM

Efficient Vehicles Where It Counts Most

A Toyota Prius hybrid taxi drives across Market Street on in San Francisco
A Toyota Prius hybrid taxi drives across Market Street on in San Francisco

Photograph by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

I was across the Potomac in Arlington County yesterday, where, to my mild surprise, I saw a Toyota Prius in use as a taxi. At first it struck me as strange, but it reminded me of Federal Express' experiments with electric vehicles. There was a story in the Times last week arguing that it takes years for the fuel savings of efficient vehicles to pay off when you consider the up-front costs of hybrid or electric engines, but the extent to which that's the case is obviously a function of how much you drive. Cabs and delivery vehicles log many many many more miles per day than a typical car, so they are in many ways the most compelling use case for this kind of technology.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

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