2014 Honda Civic Hybrid On Sale Across U.S., CNG Civic to Be Offered in 37 States
Honda has announced that the hybrid gas-electric version of the 2014 Civic is now available across the United States and that later this month the compressed natural gas powered Civic will join the lineup in 37 states. The hybrid is rated by the EPA at 44/47/45 city/highway/combined miles per gallon while the CNG Civic is rated at 31 mpg across the board. Prices start at $24,635 for the hybrid and $26,640 for the CNG model.
The natural gas powered Civic comes with a $3,000 fuel credit that can be used at Clean Energy refueling stations. Clean Energy is the largest network of CNG stations in the U.S. If you live in an area not served by Clean Energy, your Civic CNG will come with a $2,000 prepaid debit card that you can use at other CNG stations.
The Civic CNG will not be sold in Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming.
The CNG and these alternative fuel vehicles bother me. I live in a highly populated county with nearly 700,000 people, and there isn't even a CNG station in the eastern part; the nearest one is in Atlanta.
I've read that Honda is addressing the poverty spec only interior on the CNG Civic - my question is, do they address the non-truck issue also. I would be VERY interested in this car now you can get leather, nav, upgraded stereo, etc. etc. IF it has a trunk, and not an access hatch to a large CNG cylinder that once was a trunk as was the case in the previous gen model. CNG makes huge sense as an alternative fuel.
There are several CNG compressors on the market to allow home-filling of CNG cars from residential low-pressure gas lines. They slow fill (less than .5 gallon equivalent per hour), but the cost for fuel is very, very low, even including the electricity to run the compressor. (In some states the utilities subsidize the compressor, and some even give consumers lower rates on all their gas usage is they install a compressor) Saw a setup like this in a model home last fall, the builder put in a compressor and used it to keep a CNG Civic topped up. He had nothing but good things to say about it.
1) The Civic Natural Gas makes a lot of sense for those in HOV-access-for-CNG states (California being a huge one) who also commute for supra-LEAF-range distances. For those with shorter commutes a LEAF makes much more sense as a frugal new commuter (also with HOV access), as it is cheaper, nicer, and roomier, especially in trunk/cargo space. For everyone else the Civic NG makes not a whit of sense, IMO. 2) National Geographic, iirc, published that CNG actually has a detrimental near term (ie, this century) effect on global warming due to methane leakage. Its long term benefit is small, too. There are real national security reasons to power vehicles with CNG but the environmental side of that argument is weak. 3) Home refueling is possible with Vehicle Refueling Appliances like the Fuelmaker Phill and FMQ2-36. Neither of those make financial sense, at least when I did the math, as they're at least twice as expensive as an installed level 2 EVSE setup, if not a whole order of magnitude more expensive. Factor in mandatory rebuilds and the cost of electricity to run the VRE's compressor and the price per GGE advantage over commercial CNG filling stations in most regions is negligible. 4) A 50 cent/gge excise tax credit for fueling stations expired in 2013. This has caused CNG prices to jump by about--you guessed it--50 cents/gge in many regions. There still exists huge price variability by region, from near $1.50 in Oklahoma to $2.89 in Boise, just to name two recent data points off the top of my head. (Gasoline is $3/gallon in Boise, rendering CNG vehicles a total non-starter, especially considering their lower power and lower miles per gallon-equivalent that erodes the price differential.)