Cost of D.C. cab ride to drop this week

June 17, 2012

This post has been updated.

The cost of a taxicab ride in the District drops by a dollar at midnight Wednesday as the fuel surcharge expires.

In an announcement last week, the D.C. Taxicab Commission said the surcharge will expire at midnight Wednesday. It was imposed in March 2011 and has been extended three times since then.

Removal of the fuel surcharge reduces the cost of a two-mile cab ride by about 12 percent. The fare, based on an initial flat fee and a per-mile charge, falls from $8.32 to $7.32.

In explaining the elimination of the emergency surcharge, the commission noted that gas prices have been falling and that projections indicate a further slide is likely throughout the summer. However, the current price is still higher than it was when the surcharge took effect.

When the surcharge was initially imposed March 3, 2011, the average price for regular unleaded gasoline in the District was $3.45. As recently as March 6 of this year, when the surcharge was extended for a third time, the price was $3.85, the commission said.

On Friday, the commission said the current average daily price had declined by 19 cents, to $3.66.

In addition, the commission released an analysis indicating that the national average price at the pump had recently declined for 28 consecutive days. From a peak of $3.94 on April 6, the price had fallen to $3.73, the analysis said.

In explaining the drop in fuel costs, the commission staff cited a decline in crude oil prices throughout the country and referred to renewed economic concerns in parts of Europe.

Commission Chairman Ron M. Linton said the taxi commission will continue to monitor the cost of gasoline during the summer and fall. If conditions change, he said, the commission “will consider appropriate action.”

Fuel is a major cost for taxicab operators in the District. Many cabs are large and might get only 12 or 16 miles per gallon.

Taxicabs form a significant component of the transportation system in the District. It was estimated in 2009 that the city had about 8,000 licensed cab operators, with about 300 new operators joining the ranks each year.

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