The use of compressed natural gas (CNG) as an alternative to the liquid stuff has been gaining a bit of media traction lately, and Honda has a pretty nice deal that’s perfectly timed to take advantage of the situation: If you buy a 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas—“the only dedicated CNG-powered passenger car available for retail purchase from a major automaker”—you’ll get a $3,000 debit card for use at CNG fueling stations.
There are some restrictions, of course: The cards are available “while supplies last,” and only from participating Honda dealers, and only at CNG fueling stations owned by the Clean Energy Fuels Corp. On the other hand, 199 dealerships, in 36 states, now sell the 2012 Honda Civic CNG, and Clean Energy owns the largest chain of CNG stations in the country. And you’ve got until Jan. 2, 2013, to make your purchase.
Then there’s also the matter of how much CNG you can get for that three grand. According to Honda, the average price of CNG in July worked out to the equivalent of $2.05 per gallon of gasoline, while according to the EPA, the car can turn in the equivalent of 27 mpg city/38 mpg highway/31 combined with a standard five-speed automatic transmission. That compares to a line of 28/39/32 for the comparably transmissioned, traditionally powered Civic Sedan.
Now, it must be admitted that the 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas is a tad more expensive than the entry-level, gas-only model—like over $10,000 more expensive. The Civic CNG stickers at $26,305, and that’s some $2,100 beyond the price of even the Civic Hybrid. But you do end up with a vehicle that relies almost exclusively on domestically sourced energy, is built in the U.S., and was named the 2012 Green Car of the Year by Green Car Journal.
For more information on the Clean Energy debit card promotion, visit: www.CNGfuelcard.honda.com.