Natural Gas Vehicles
You may have heard that natural gas is the cleanest-burning fossil fuel. So of course it’s logical to ask about the possibility of natural gas vehicles. If this fuel source is so green, why not run our cars on it?
You aren’t the first to ask. There are natural gas powered vehicles on the market, as well as service stations dedicated to them in many states.
The Honda Civic GX is the only publicly available, factory-built car dedicated compressed natural gas (CNG) in the U.S. This snazzy little number is available to fleet customers in all 50 states, but offered to retail buyers in only 35 (which may seem restrictive, but is an improvement over the four states in which it was sold prior to October 2011).
With a suggested starting price of $26,305, and mileage that runs to 27 mph for city driving and 38 on the highway, this car is looking like a nice buy. But won’t the natural gas element be cumbersome? It’s not like you can simply stop at the nearest gas station.
Honda has anticipated that objection, ensuring that a premier maker of home fueling systems, FuelMaker—of which Honda was the controlling shareholder—found a buyer for its assets after it went into receivership. The buyer, Fuel Systems Solutions Inc., is a major play
er in the European CNG car market.
But what if you need fuel when not at home with your own pump? You can find a natural gas fueling stations via this handy, interactive map. Southern California boasts the most stations, followed by New England. Dallas-Forth Worth, Denver, and the Seattle area are ina dead heat for third place.
In case you’re still not ready to run out and buy a Civic GX, there’s plenty more to learn on the Web. Try these sites for some more info:
- Department of Energy’s natural gas vehicle page, including types of natur al gas vehicles
- How NG vehicles work, a thorough tutorial at HowStuffWorks.com
- Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition, including a page of natural gas vehicle facts
- Reasons to go with NG at Clean Energy’s site. Check out the Fuel Price Report in the top-right corner. This week, compressed natural gas is going for $2.28 a gallon, compared to $3.18 for gas. That kind of savings might be one powerful reason to try a natural gas car.
Photo: darinrmcclure via Flickr