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Product Report – Honda Civic GX March 23, 2008

Posted by OldGuy in Alternatives.
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Have you been following Honda’s Civic GX?  It’s a low-emission, fuel-efficient sedan powered by clean-burning compressed natural gas (CNG), a North American based fuel.

According to their promotional website, the goal for the Civic GX is a near-zero emissions Natural Gas Vehicle that meets the performance expectations of customers for a regular car.

Honda says that, “during testing of the Civic GX, hydrocarbon emissions were found to be so low that new techniques had to be developed to measure them. The EPA even called the Civic GX the cleanest internal-combustion vehicle it had ever tested. ”

Some companies have used natural gas for their fleets, like the bus company or (predictiably) the fleet vehicles of the gas company.  The problem for the rest of us is that there aren’t enough natural gas filling stations to entice buyers into purchasing their own privately-owned vehicles.

Honda’s approach is to improve the gas distribution problem.  Their answer is a home gas filling apparatus.  They partnered with Fuelmaker, one of the leading producers of fueling devices, to create “Phill,” the first home refueling appliance available to owners of natural gas-powered vehicles.

Phill is compact, easy to install and as safe and quiet as your clothes dryer – connected to the very same gas line you use to fuel appliances like your gas stove. It can be installed either inside or outside your garage, and it’s equipped with several built-in features that monitor and detect minute leaks, automatically shutting down the system if necessary. With Phill, your Civic GX can be conveniently filled overnight, with fuel that often costs as little as half as much as gasoline.

Sounds like something to watch.  There’s probably a business opportunity there, installing a metered natural gas “pump” for refilling the tank while away from home, or for apartment dwellers and college students.  If I was smart, I’d open one here…

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