Honda is betting that natural gas could be one of the fuels of the future. The automaker is selling a natural gas-powered version of its ever-popular Civic four-door sedan.
The 2014 Civic Natural Gas comes standard with an inline 4-cylinder aluminum alloy engine with a multi-point natural gas fuel injection. This gives 110 @ 6500 horsepower and 106 @ 4300 torque. Standard features include an Eco Assist System, front wheel drive, a compact five-speed automatic transmission, and intelligent multi-information display.
The suggested starting price for the standard model is $26,640. A slightly more expensive model comes with leather trimmed seats and automatic climate control for $29,290.
Fuel mileage is fairly impressive as well. The Civic Natural Gas gets 27 miles per gallon in the city and 38 miles per gallon on the highway. Not bad for a zero emission car.
The real selling point though is the price of the fuel. A gallon of compressed natural gas (CNG) was selling for $2.99 in Colorado Springs, Colo. and $2.25 in Castle Rock, Colo. in April 2014, according to CNG prices.com. The average price for a gallon of CNG in the Denver area was around $2.50.
Meanwhile, the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the Rocky Mountain region was $3.50, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), and the average price of diesel fuel in the region was $3.97. That means the average person will save money by switching to natural gas.
Home Natural Gas Fueling Almost Here
There’s an even bigger advantage to natural gas as an auto fuel, according to the CNG Now website, you may not need to go the gas station. A company called BRC FuelMaker is selling a device called the Phill, a natural gas compressor appliance that lets you fill your gas tank from the gas line that runs to your house. BRC FuelMaker’s website is also selling two commercial versions of the same product.
Nor is BRC the only company pushing such a solution. CNG Now reports that Eaton Corporation and General Electric are developing their own CNG home refueling system that could cost around $500. If that’s true, Honda could afford to give a CNG fueling system away with its Civic Natural Gas.
It looks like natural gas might just be the fuel of the future after all. One has to wonder if electric cars will be able to compete. After all, natural gas is a proven technology: UPS now has hundreds of CNG powered delivery trucks on America’s roads.
As we’ve pointed out before, there will soon be cars powered by several different energy sources on America’s streets, which will look much like they did before World War I when cars powered by steam, electricity, and gasoline shared the roads.