As the only natural gas car you can buy from a major automaker, you would think the Honda Civic NGV would have the market for alternative fuels cornered. But Honda executives are resorting to some classic tricks to move these vehicles off of dealership lots, including offering a $3,000 fuel card with the purchase of any Civic NGV.
The $3,000 fuel card can only be used at one of the 150 Clean Energy CNG stations around America (of which 40 are in California). Granted, California is the largest car market, and gas prices have crept over $4.50 a gallon in many places in the Golden State. With CNG prices hovering around $2.00 a gallon, you can save a lot of money, and the Honda Civic NGV even won the coveted Green Car of the Year award.
The Honda Civic NGV also gives drivers access to California’s coveted HOV lanes. Alas, with a starting MSRP of $26,305 (plus a $790 destination fee), the Honda CIvic NGV is the most expensive Civic model in the lineup. The Civic CNG also makes due with less power and less range, around just 200 miles per tank of natural gas. Also, home refilling can take up to a full day, and the CNG filling systems cost thousands of dollars, leaving some customers to rely on just a handful of public fueling stations.
While many pundits and politicians are touting CNG as the replacement for petrol, consumers seem wary. Nobody wants to get stuck with the 21st century equivalent of Betamax, after all. Throwing $3,000 of free fuel on the hood of a new car doesn’t exactly reek of confidence.