While only about 5-hours behind given the European Mazda6 diesel and Ford_MPG challenge run in the UK details, here is a new promotion from Honda.
Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG
- Oct. 9, 2012
2012 Honda Civic NGV (AT-PZEV) - $26,305 to start and a 27/38 mpgUS city/highway (equivalent) rating.
It’s the latest ninth generation Civic we have come to know with a twist.
In the Civic Natural Gas, which is powered by Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), the Single Overhead Cam (SOHC) 1.8L I4 develops 110 HP and 106 lb-ft of torque when mated to the standard 5-speed automatic transmission.
Since will only run on NG, its compression ratio has been increased to 12.7:1 (compared to 10:6 in regular gasoline-powered engines) to improve thermodynamic performance. Since CNG is non-lubricating, the engine has exclusive intake and exhaust valves and different valve seats to reduce wear. Stronger connecting rods are also added to handle the higher compression ratio. To control the flow of CNG into the engine, a single-stage pressure regulator and special fuel injectors are incorporated to deliver precisely metered amounts of CNG into each cylinder's intake tract.
The Civic Natural Gas GX is certified to the Federal Tier II, Bin 2 emission level, and is also certified as a Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). It complies with AT PZEV, (Advanced Technology, Partial Zero Emission Vehicle) criterion established by CARB.
Since it operates exclusively on natural gas with no provision for gasoline, the Federal EPA categorizes the Civic Natural Gas as an ILEV (Inherently Low Emission Vehicle) recognizing its sealed fuel system emits zero evaporative emissions. Due to its efficiency and emissions performance, California owners in particular are granted single-occupant access to High Occupancy Vehicle "carpool" lanes through January 1, 2015.
The Civic Natural Gas has a cylindrical fuel tank for compressed natural gas located behind the rear seatback. The composite tank has an aluminum liner and can contain the gasoline-gallon equivalent of approximately 8.0 gallons when pressurized to 3600 psi.
Honda announced earlier today that it is working with Clean Energy Fuels to provide a special savings to customers purchasing a new 2012 Civic Natural Gas Vehicle – a debit card pre-loaded with $3,000 that can be used at Clean Energy CNG fueling stations around the country to purchase fuel.
With a combined EPA fuel economy rating of 31 mpg and a fuel cost savings of up to 40 percent compared to a typical gasoline-powered compact car, the Civic Natural Gas Vehicle can significantly reduce the pain at the pump. The Civic Natural Gas Vehicle can also be refueled in a matter of minutes, much like a conventional gasoline-powered car, and should easily to cover over 240 miles on a single tank of fuel.
The nation-wide average price of natural gas fuel for vehicles in July was $2.05 per equivalent gasoline gallon, according to the Department of Energy, Clean Cities Alternative Fuel Price report on fuel prices. In addition, a key benefit is that 98% of it is domestically produced.
The Real Cost
Unfortunately because the 2012 Civic Natural Gas Vehicle is the only OEM produced natural-gas powered passenger vehicle in the U.S, this allows Honda to charge an exorbitant $7,500 USD more than the LX sedan from which it is based.
Even so, with NG costing about ½ that of gasoline and the FE reduction of just 1 mpgUS city/highway/combined and HOV access make for a tempting prospect. If HOV lane access is not available to you however, it is tough to make a case for the Honda Civic Natural Gas trim vs. its gasoline fueled counterpart even with the $3,000 in free fuel. $3,000 USD of NG is enough to drive the Civic Natural Gas at 40 mpg over 15,000 miles per year for 3.9 years.
If instead you were to purchase the $18,805 (we have heard of the 2012 Civic LXs with ATs being purchased in the low $15,000 range) and with the $8,000 USD in savings including the NG variants free fuel, you can drive the LX for 5.33 years at 15,000 miles per year an average cost of $4.00 per gallon and the same 40 mpg and before ever having to consider the cost of the fuel by comparison.
That is a lot of $ upcharge to purchase a mostly domestically fueled compact. I am not sure if resale holds the same differential and it is something to consider. Anyone want to look up resale on a 5-year old Civic NGV and LX with an AT over at Edmunds or KBB for comparison?
On a sales basis, since the Civic Natural Gas was opened up to dealerships in 36-states, it has posted record sales since going on-sale in October 2011, increasing 22 percent versus the same period a year ago.
I could not afford to drive the Civic Natural Gas due to the excessive upfront costs but hopefully you can?