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Powered by Gas—the Natural Version


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13. May 2014

If you want to buy a compressed natural gas- (CNG) powered car straight off of a dealer’s lot, a car that’s factory-built not retrofitted, then you need to head down to your local Honda dealer and look into the Civic CNG because that’s all there is.

The Civic CNG is just like a gasoline-powered vehicle. It can be opted up with leather and the works. It is powered by a 1.8-liter engine that produces 110 hp and 106 lb-ft of torque. The Civic CNG gets an EPA estimated 27/38/31 mpg, and it is clean-burning, meeting the California AT-PZEV standard.

2014 Honda Civic Natural Gas2014 Honda Civic CNG—look closely to the right of the license plate to see the CNG sticker 

The primary reason people might be interested in CNG rather than gasoline is that the fuel is less expensive than gasoline or diesel. For example, recently checking on the CNG Now! website I found several stations in and around the area that have CNG for about $1 less per gallon than gasoline.

However, know that there are far fewer stations, and that, for example, in the case of the Civic, the range is less because the fuel tank is different. The Civic CNG fuel tank holds what is an equivalent to 8.03 gallons of gasoline. A Civic sedan that looks just like a CNG version from the outside (the difference can be discerned in the trunk, where the CNG tank truncates storage) has a 13.2-gallon gas tank. Obviously, with a five-gallon difference, your range is going to be more limited with CNG.

Some people are resistant to going CNG because they may not know where they are going to be going all the time, and they don’t know whether they’ll be an available CNG station when they get there (or on their way there).

But consider trucks that have more real estate for the fuel storage tanks and that travel, often, the same route. This makes natural gas a highly viable option.

Iveco natural gas More real estate for CNG tanks on a truck tractor than in a sedan

Iveco has launched in Europe a lineup of commercial trucks with a natural-gas powered Cursor 8 natural Power engine that ranges in output from 270 to 330 hp. And it meets the Euro VI emissions standard.

There are liquid natural gas (LNG) and CNG versions. The latter have tank capacities ranging from 400 to 1,300 liters.

The LNG tractor—the AT440S33T/P LNG—has 4 70-liter CNG tanks and a 525-liter LNG cryogenic tank. It has a cruising range of 750 km.

Iveco builds the natural gas-powered trucks on a production line in Madrid right along with diesel versions.

In addition to having better emissions, the natural gas-powered trucks are 5 dB quieter than the diesels, too.

And Iveco says that there can be a fuel expense reduction of up to 40% compared with a diesel vehicle.

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