The Honda Civic Natural Gas was ranked the 2012 Green Car of the Year by Green Car Journal. The announcement was made at the Los Angeles Auto Show.
The Civic was up against a range of green vehicles including the Ford Focus Electric, the Mitsubishi i, the Toyota Prius V, and the VW Passat TDI.
The winning Civic, selected by a panel of automotive and environmental experts, is the only assembly line-produced natural gas passenger vehicle available for sale in the U.S. Its fuel is in large part produced domestically and is on average 30 percent cheaper than gasoline. It also boasts a 38 highway MPGe fuel economy rating the cleanest running internal combustion engine that has been certified by the EPA.
Though finding a natural gas fueling station near you might be tricky (see this map listing the number of stations per state), owners can purchase a wall-mounted refueling appliance for home use. On a full tank of compressed natural gas, the Civic Natural Gas can get 240 miles - two and a half times the per-charge capacity of your average all-electric vehicle.
Weighing the pros (range, fuel economy, and eco-friendliness) against the $26,155 price tag and infrastructure constraints (public refueling stations are still not widespread), the range anxiety that afflicts the EV market may rub off (what happens if you can't get to a natural gas refueling station in time?). But considering the environmental benefits, drivers may be willing to bet that the infrastructure will follow shortly.
Readers, what do you think? Would you consider making the Honda Civic Natural Gas your next car?