Taxi Medallion Management purchased 12 Ford Transit Connect Taxis for its fleet and plans to have the new vehicles transporting Chicago's community by March. The clean-burning compressed natural gas cabs will be affiliated with Yellow Cab Chicago and will carry the company's logo and color.

The purchase is part of the company's goal of reducing emissions by 25 percent, according to Michael Levine, CEO of Taxi Medallion Management. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, CNG is less expensive and burns cleaner than gasoline, which results in 30 to 40 percent less greenhouse gas emissions.

The Packey Webb Ford dealership of Downers Grove, Ill. will deliver the new taxi fleet to Taxi Medallion Management with an engine preparation package for conversion to CNG. Winner of the 2010 North American Truck of the Year, the Transit Connect Taxi was introduced as a production vehicle last year. Boston Cab Dispatch was the first to take delivery of the new taxi in December 2010.

The standard Ford Transit Connect Taxi features a 2.0-liter I-4 engine that gets an EPA-estimated 21 mpg city and 26 mpg highway, and an estimated 30 percent improvement in fuel economy compared with traditional taxis.