As oil prices continue to fluctuate and concerns over the effects of vehicle emissions to the environment continue to grow, more and more people are looking for ways to save up on fuel costs and find a cleaner and safer alternative fuel. However, there aren’t that many choices of vehicles running on alternative fuels on car showrooms across the country. Most of the alternative fuel vehicles available today feature hybrid technology. As of now, it’s the hybrid cars that are better known for their fuel economy. But there’s another alternative fuel that isn’t getting as much attention as hybrids – compressed natural gas.
There is a dearth of production vehicle models running on natural gas. In fact, there is only one factory CNG car model available to the public today, the Honda Civic GX. There are so many misconceptions about this particular car, which could very well be hindering its sales expansion. In this article, we are going to take a look at the Honda Civic GX and what it has to offer in terms of lowering fuel costs and keeping the environment cleaner.
For starters, the Honda Civic GX is based on Honda’s very popular workhorse, the Civic. But compared to other Civic models, the Civic GX is designed to run exclusively on compressed natural gas or CNG. The Civic GX was first introduced in 1998. Then in 2001, the EPA recognized the Honda Civic GX as having the cleanest-burning internal combustion engine in the world recognized it.
Some quick facts about the Honda Civic GX:
- The Honda Civic GX has a 1.8-liter inline four-cylinder engine with an output of 113 horsepower. This is lower than the 140 horsepower offered by other Civic models but compares favorably with the 110 combine horsepower of the Civic Hybrid.
- The GX is 90% cleaner than traditional gasoline vehicles. It produces 75% fewer smog-forming exhaust emissions and has 30 – 40% less greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline-powered vehicles.
- The GX has a fuel economy of 24 mpg on city roads and 36 mpg on the highway. These figures are almost the same as the other Civics but are not as fuel-efficient as the Civic Hybrids.
- Civic GXs are also heavier than gasoline-engine Civics by as much as 100-200 pounds. The GX is not known for stellar performance or sporty handling.
- The Civic GX can qualify for a $4,000 federal tax credit as well as a $3,000 rebate. This partially offsets the relatively higher price tag of this vehicle, which can reach up to $25,195.
- Honda Civic GX drivers can use high occupancy vehicle or HOV lanes in eight states and Washington D.C. In a number of California cities, GX owners can also get free metered parking.
- There is very limited availability of Honda Civic GX. It is available to fleets in all states but it is sold at retail only in the states of California and New York. There are only about 1,100 units of Civic GX manufactured for the 2008 model year.
Overall, the Honda Civic GX may not be as agile and powerful as the other Civics but it is certainly the cleanest, with the least environmental impact. With lower fuel costs, access to HOV lanes, federal taxes and credits, the Honda Civic GX is very viable option, especially for people looking for cleaner alternative fuel vehicles. However, the limited availability of natural gas refuelling stations should be a main concern for GX buyers.