It's a natural gas: Honda's greenest car goes national soon

James Raia

After more than a decade of sporadic available to the retail public, Honda Motor Co. (HMC) will offer its natural-gas-powered Civic GX throughout the United States beginning in the fall of 2011.

A recent report in The Nikkei, the business publication in Japan, said the manufacturer’s decision to go nationwide reflects the increased nterest in environmental cars in the U.S.It's a natural gas: Honda's greenest car goes national soon 1

Natural-gas-propelled cars are often considered greener than all-electric vehicles, because the latter charge their batteries using electricity often generated by fossil-fuel-fired power plants.

Honda first released the Civic GX in the state of California in 1998 and currently offers the car in four states.

Honda initially marketed the car to government agencies and commercial users, but starting in 2005 it also began offering to lease the Civic GX to individual consumers.

Built to run on compressed natural gas (CNG), the Honda GX is based on the Honda Civic and is currently available for fleet sales throughout the United States.  It is also available for retail sale in California, New York, Utah and Oklahoma.

The Honda GX, for eight straight years rated first in the “Greenest Vehicle of the Year” by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, is manufactured in Honda’s Greensburg, Indiana, plant together with the production of conventional Civics.

The Honda Civic GX first appeared in 1998 as a factory-modified Civic LX that had been designed to run exclusively on CNG (compressed natural gas). In 1998 the Civic GX cost $4500 more than a comparable Civic LX.

In 2001, the Civic GX was rated the cleanest-burning internal combustion engine in the world by the EPA. The CNG cylinder (fuel tank) is carried in the trunk of the car and holds 8.0 GGE (Gasoline Gallon Equivalent) at 3600 psi, Range on a full 3600 psi fill is variable, depending on driving conditions and driving technique, with estimates varying from 180-250 miles, with an estimated cost of $1.50 per GGE.

Article Last Updated: June 16, 2011.

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