Hybrid Cars Could Grace City Fleet

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The Mayor's office and city councilmembers are trying to reach a deal on a series of bills that would transform the city's car and truck fleet, and improve the city's air. WNYC's Dan Blumberg has more.

If approved, the bills would require all of the city's non-emergency vehicles to be as environmentally friendly as possible. That means thousands of new hybrid cars could be on city streets over the coming years.

The council's goal for cars would be to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 10 percent within six years. The city's trucks would have to switch to ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel. The bill would ALSO force school buses, private waste haulers, and sight-seeing buses to use the cleaner fuel, which, at the moment is not widely available in the city.

Today, the city council will hold a hearing on the proposals and their potential to reduce the city's increasingly high asthma rate. But, a spokesman for Mayor Bloomberg says the hearing is "counterproductive" because the city and the council are still negotiating over the bills' specifics.

There are currently 7800 non-emergency vehicles in the city's fleet. About forty percent already use alternative fuels. For WNYC, I'm Dan Blumberg.