Driver for Hervey Bay Taxis Lesley Starmer loves driving one of the new Toyota Prius cabs.
Driver for Hervey Bay Taxis Lesley Starmer loves driving one of the new Toyota Prius cabs.

Cabs switch to fuel-efficient cars

FUEL prices are so high in the Hervey Bay area that taxis are switching to energy-efficient cars to help make ends meet.

An extensive APN survey of fuel prices in 14 locations throughout Queensland and northern NSW shows the Fraser Coast has the second-highest price for LPG and the fifth-highest for unleaded petrol.

Wide Bay Cabs general manager Mal Riley, who owns almost half of the taxis operating out of Hervey Bay, yesterday said high fuel prices had taken a toll on the industry.

“It is a major expense for our business,” he said.

The cars in his fleet run off LPG, which was running at around 15 cents per litre higher in Hervey Bay than on the Sunshine Coast and 25 cents per litre higher than in Brisbane.

Mr Riley said the high local gas prices had forced him to begin replacing his fleet with Toyota Priuses, an energy-efficient hybrid car that runs off a combination of electricity and petrol.

He said he had already replaced two of the four cars in his fleet with Priuses and was looking forward to replacing his last two gas-fuelled cars with the hybrids next year.

“Those Priuses are saving me $800 a month in fuel costs, so I can never see me going back to gas,” he said.

He said changing to hybrids was a “win-win situation” because they reduced the company's fuel overheads, they were more comfortable for drivers and they were more environmentally friendly than conventional cars.

Mr Riley said other taxi companies were making the change and he expected the rest of the industry to follow suit.

“Some of these guys are wary about technology but the Priuses have been out for quite a while now, probably six or seven years.

“So as far as I'm concerned that's enough to show they'll do the job,” he said.

Taxi driver Lesley Starmer, who started driving a Prius cab earlier this year, said she was only filling up once every three or four days, as opposed to once a day when she drove a conventional car.

Ms Starmer said the cars were a breath of fresh air for cabbies.

“Every other taxi driver that's driven it thinks it's fantastic,” she said.



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