Last October, New York City officials held a special auction of 27 heavily discounted taxi medallions that could be used only with cabs powered by natural gas or by a combination of gasoline and electricity. Eighteen of the licenses were sold, at an average price of $222,743, one-third less than the cost of a regular medallion. The Taxi and Limousine Commission praised the program as a first step toward the reduction of harmful emissions. One problem: The commission never got around to approving any alternative-fuel vehicles for use as taxicabs.
Ted Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining.