A Green Headache for Limousine CEO

Valera Global considered replacing vehicles in its fleet such as Lincoln Town Cars, above, with gas-electric hybrids such as Toyota Priuses, right, to respond to some customers' concerns about reducing emissions of greenhouse gas.

Published: 30-Dec-2007

Robert Mackasek, chief executive officer of Valera Global, had a green headache. The condition stemmed from the public's expressed desire to reduce tailpipe pollution coupled with its unwillingness to give up much in terms of comfort or convenience to help shrink the carbon footprint of automobiles.
For Mackasek's New York-based company, which operates one of the nation's largest chauffeured vehicle fleets, the condition was acute. Valera's lineup of 215 limousines and sport-utility vehicles, including models such as the long-wheelbase Lincoln Town Car, the Mercedes-Benz S-550 sedan, and the GMC Yukon Denali, were decidedly non-green in a world where green was becoming hip - even among Valera's well-heeled clientele.

"We had a general concern about our fleet because some rival services were beginning to buy Toyota Prius models," Mackasek said about the little gas-electric hybrid car, popularly hailed as the automotive definition of "green."

Mackasek considered moving Valera in the same direction. But he then discovered that the Prius-green movement of his rivals was not all it seemed to be.

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