I admittedly am not your typical Green fan. Many of the claims of cost savings are dubious at best, but this is not the time and place for social and political discussion. It IS, however, time to discuss something we all can agree on, MONEY!
As a “Green Sceptic”, I look at many of the new green technologies, and wonder how they make the claims that they do (light bulbs that last 46 years? Really?) Most of the hybrid car’s benefits went unrealized, but we’ve all seen the UPS and other fleet vehicles running around with the blue diamond CNG stickers. So when I learned that Oklahoma had updated their credit for Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles, I decided to revisit the economics.
Currently, there is only one car equipped from the factory with CNG, and that is the Honda Civic GX. There also several options for retrofitting vehicles, but I focused my analysis on the Civic primarily because of the tax incentives.
The Civic GX qualifies for both Federal and Oklahoma credits that total $8,000 which brings the sticker price from $26,000 BELOW the comparably equipped Civix LX with a gasoline engine. So you start out $1,000 to the good. Additionally, you save almost $1.50 per gallon on your fuel. If you drive 12,000 miles a year, then you’re saving $600 a year. That isn’t a huge number, but it certainly adds up over the life of the vehicle.
Now the downside. You are limited to the number of places to fuel up (Five locations in Oklahoma City, Seven in Tulsa, and not a lot outside of the metro areas (go to www.cngnow.com to view prices and locations). Also, the fuel capacity is only the equivalent of 8 gallons, so you’re limited to about 250 miles per tank. But if you want a car with good gas mileage, and you’re primarily staying in town, it might be worth a look-see.
And if you really are looking for “Green” reasons, here are two:
- The California Smog Emissions rating on the Civic GX is a 9 (out of possible 10), while the standard LX is only a 5.
- Virtually all of the fuel for CNG comes from the good ole’ US of A. That might be enough reason right there…
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