A depiction of a hybrid Israeli taxi of the model type Toyota Yaris.
(photo credit: ENVIRONMENT PROTECTION MINISTRY)
In hopes of curbing emissions in urban centers, a state-backed initiative is encouraging taxi drivers to switch to environmentally friendly vehicles.
An investment of NIS 30 million, financed by Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund, will enable the subsidized purchase of 1,500 hybrid taxis, the Environmental Protection Ministry announced on Sunday.
Drivers interested in taking part in the program can receive a discount of up to NIS 20,000 on vehicles at participating Toyota dealerships around the country, imported by Union Motors.
“Pollution from diesel engines is carcinogenic and dangerous to man,” said Environmental Protection Minister Ze’ev Elkin. “The environmentally friendly hybrid taxi will bring about a direct reduction in air pollution and thereby contribute to protecting public health.”
There are about 22,000 taxis in Israel. Most have diesel engines and generate particularly high amounts of air pollution, the ministry said. Because taxis tend to drive in urban areas, most of the public is exposed to the pollutants emitted by these vehicles, the ministry added.
KKL-JNF is paying for the subsidies as part of an agreement reached with the Environment Ministry last year.
Under the agreement, KKL-JNF transferred money to the state for a variety of national projects and environmental programs. Environment Ministry officials and KKL-JNF representatives were tasked with jointly operating a committee to approve the projects.
To date, the joint investment plans for reducing pollution and mitigating environmental risks total NIS 390 million, the ministry said.
KKL-JNF chairman Danny Atar stressed that the hybrid taxi program is in line with his organization’s goal to develop green technologies and encourage innovative environmental projects.
“I am pleased that the hybrid taxi project is being launched – a project that can improve the quality life of all of us and transform Israel into a better place to live in,” Atar said.