Shopping For Eco Friendly Cars?
Honda Civic GX NGV

Are Natural Gas Vehicles
A Good Alternative To Hybrids?

Right side view of the Honda Civic GX NGV CNG at the LA auto show by jmrosenfeld on Flickr If you are a consumer looking for a greener vehicle, one to consider is the Honda Civic GX NGV. For some reason, probably just a marketing thing, Honda refers to this category of car as a Natural Gas Vehicle or NGV, rather than the industry standard Compressed Natural Gas or CNG. So, don't let that confuse you when you are shopping around. There are many commercial vehicles that use this technology, but this is the only one out there that is now available to the public.

This is one of the cleanest running vehicles on the market and unlike a hybrid it will never need gasoline, so there are no gas station stops in your future. A home refueling system is available, so it's easy to fill up with natural gas at your home.

This new natural gas vehicle is based on the Honda Civic, which happens to be one of the top selling compact sedans within the United States today. Although this vehicle will set you back more than $25,000, there is a federal tax credit of $4,000 that is offered and there are some states that offer even more incentives as well.

Engine compartment of the Honda NGV by jmrosenfeld on Flickr According to reviews and consumers who have actually driven the Honda Civic GX NGV, it is hard to tell that you are driving a natural gas vehicle. Some have been worried about the safety of natural gas in a vehicle, but you will find that this vehicle is safer than any gas powered vehicle. Yes, natural gas is definitely explosive, but it will not as easily explode as gasoline does. The tanks for natural gas are just about bulletproof, the tanks are designed in a way to vent fuel if a fire occurs, which means that these vehicles are safe for you to drive.

Of course, this vehicle is an excellent one to drive as well. A compact sedan, you will find it sleek on the outside with a futuristic design, and on the inside it has excellent features like a split level dash. Many of the options are similar to those of a mid range Civic, including a CD player, power windows, remote keyless-entry, anti lock blacks, airbags, cloth seats, power locks, power mirrors, and more.

When you go to fuel the Honda Civic GX NGV, you will find that it is just a bit different than fueling a regular vehicle that runs on gasoline. If you use a public station, they often provide you with an orientation video that will show you how to fuel the car. Basically, you connect the hose to the nozzle for fueling on the car, turn a special valve that will seal off your connection and this makes the gas begin to flow. Once your tank is full, you merely have to disconnect your nozzle and you can go.

View of the Honda Civic GX NGV CNG connected to an CNG filling station at the LA auto show by jmrosenfeld on Flickr

The main benefit of this car is that it burns natural gas instead of gasoline, which is available in huge quantities from sources that are domestic. The air pollution score from the EPA for the vehicle is a 9.5, which is excellent and the very same as the Toyota Prius and the Civic Hybrid by Honda. Although the cost is a bit steep, this is one vehicle that can help Americans break their dependence on foreign oil.