Natural gas powered-cars are becoming an increasingly attractive alternative to those seeking to lessen their impact on the environment and/or to escape the ongoing havoc at the pump. Honda is planning to roll out the Civic GX (previously available in only four states) at dealerships nationwide this year. It tops the list of greenest cars published by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Fuel Economy – besting electric cars and hybrids. It boasts no air-polluting emissions and is low on greenhouse gases.
Natural gas is much more economical than traditional gasoline, ranging from $1-2.50 per gallon versus a national average of $3.25 for gasoline. As natural gas is a leaner-burning fuel, maintenance costs are lower than for traditional cars. Drivers of natural gas cars are also able to use car pool lanes, even if there is only one vehicle occupant.
Limitations do exist. Of course, sparse availability of filling stations is a major issue, although that is expected to change as popularity rises. The list price of over $25,000 for the Civic GX (some states do offer tax credits) can deter some buyers, as well.
There is precedence for success for the natural gas vehicle: Brazil, for example, has 1.5 million on the road. In a crowded automotive landscape, it will be fascinating to witness how the American public reacts to widespread availability of natural gas cars.
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