Last week, a Seattle-based vehicle for-hire company, “CNG for Hire” launched operations with 45 CNG Chevy Impalas. For-hire vehicles are like taxis, but don’t have metered fares and are prohibited in city limits from picking up customers trying to hail a cab on the street. All trips inside the city must be booked ahead by the customer. For-hire companies charge a flat rate or by the hour. “We can provide a cleaner car environmentally, and if we can provide a service that saves them up to 30 percent, then it’s good for the consumer and it’s good for the environment,” said Abdul Yusuf, the company’s CEO. The company was awarded $460,000 in stimulus grants. More than 200 CNG taxis are in operation in the Seattle area thanks to $2.5 million that went to Seattle’s taxi industry through the Western Washington Clean Cities Coalition. That will reduce petroleum use by 18,000 gallons per week, or about 90 gallons per vehicle, according to estimates from the Clean Cities program.The Clean Taxi incentive is geared toward independent cab drivers and co-ops that otherwise might not be able to afford lower-emission vehicles.