In this case, Public Citizen filed an amicus curiae brief in support of the City of New York's petition for certiorari, which asks the Court to overturn a lower court's decision preventing the City from enforcing rules that provide incentives for taxicab companies to purchase hybrid vehicles for their cab fleets.
The City has long regulated lease rates that cab companies charge cabdrivers. Because the drivers bear fuel costs, the City determined that in order to encourage cab fleets to buy fuel-efficient cars, it needed to allow higher lease rates for hybrid vehicles and lower ones for conventional, less fuel-efficient automobiles. The cab industry challenged the new lease rules, arguing that they were preempted by a federal law, the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, or EPCA, which gives the federal government the power to promulgate mandatory fuel efficiency standards for automakers and preempts state and local laws that relate to fuel efficiency standards. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit accepted the cab industry's arguments, and the City petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn that decision.