A federal judge has blocked New York City's latest attempt to force taxicab owners to buy fuel-efficient hybrids.
Judge Paul Crotty ruled Monday that new rules meant to encourage cab owners to only buy the hybrids were pre-empted by federal laws. The new rules would have lowered lease rates for less fuel-efficient vehicles, costing the cab owners profits.
Late last year, the same judge rejected other rules the city had devised to try to force the fleet of yellow cabs to go green by 2012.
The judge praised the city's intent. He said it was an important and appropriate government goal to increase the number of fuel-efficient vehicles -- but said the law is the law.
This year, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a series of initiatives to increase the use of fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly taxis through financial incentives and legislative action.