Natural Gas fueled vehicles

SylviaSylvia Member Posts: 1,636
edited April 2014 in Honda
Discuss natural gas fueled vehicles here.


  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    I stand corrected Well_Informed. I was not up on the Natural Gas reserves around the world. I read and article when we built the base in Qatar that they were sitting on the world's largest known reserve. We also agree on diesel being the most efficient use of our natural resources. I would love to have an MB E320 CDI. Again CARB's shortsightedness is blocking all small diesels. Even with ULSD I don't believe they will change their view of small Diesel vehicles.
    AS for the LNG/CNG debate. I think they can build ports and LNG terminals in more remote areas and pipe the natural gas to the markets. I am not sure how much more it adds to the cost. I know Alaska was shipping gas to Korea for a while during the 1970s. Not sure if that operation is still going or not. At least if we use natural gas for city buses and delivery trucks it will help improve our air quality. What caught my attention with the Civic CNG was the $423 for 15k miles in a year. It is hard to imagine a more economical environmentally sound vehicle.
  • SylviaSylvia Member Posts: 1,636
    I was out running errands this morning and parked next to a Honda Civic NG. The owner loves it, says it has been very reliable. The biggest issue of course is not being able to pull into any old gas station on a long trip. The fill-up points require planning.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    What city are you in? The fill-up points was the main reason I did not put CNG into my full size Chevy PU back in 1996.
  • well_informedwell_informed Member Posts: 34
    I was out running errands this morning and parked next to a Honda Civic NG. The owner loves it, says it has been very reliable. The biggest issue of course is not being able to pull into any old gas station on a long trip. The fill-up points require planning.

    I'd believe that. Since CNG is a far cleaner fuel than gasoline, an extra advantage of the CNG Civic over the already high-reliability Gas Civic, is that it will be extremely reliable and require far less maintenance, have less wear and tear etc.

    One solution to the trunk space problem is to make it a station wagon, preferably a tall station wagon with a high driving position, since this is the reason SUVs are so popular.

    Then you still have an economy car, easy to park, and can still take 5 people and their stuff on a trip.

    and when you have a bigger trunk, and even a double floor (like the Merc A-class), youc an store extra fuel, so the range can go to a more palatable 350-400 miles, so one can buy it as a family car.
  • SylviaSylvia Member Posts: 1,636
    Northern CA - north of San Fran
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    I think it is even better suited to a PU truck. It will take up some bed space. I noticed this morning on Interstate 8 in San Diego. A sign saying Natural Gas next exit. Maybe I will buy one of the trucks set up to run both. You can switch over to unleaded if you get low on CNG with no place to fill-up. It makes more sense than Hydrogen fuel cells. Does anyone know how much Natural Gas it takes to generate a KWH in a fuel cell?
  • stevedebistevedebi Member Posts: 4,098
    "One solution to the trunk space problem is to make it a station wagon, preferably a tall station wagon with a high driving position, since this is the reason SUVs are so popular."

    Hmmm, seems like the Honda CR-V would be a good choice; it has a large wheel space under the rear deck (would fit a limited use spare). We call it the "ice chest" because it will hold water. If they combined this space with the stock tank, it would probablly have enough range...
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    I think the only thing holding back CNG cars is fueling stations. Also the tank is big for a given range. I think the CRV would be a good choice. The Civic GX is cleaner burning than the Prius according to the EPA. And the price of fuel is like equivalent to $.90 a gallon. I almost converted my old Chevy PU.
  • stevedebistevedebi Member Posts: 4,098
    I don't know, when I fill up my tank for the barbeque, it runs about 1.59 a gallon... which is still cheaper than gasoline.

    I think that one could go cross country on LNG, but would have to plan carefully. Out here in the west, there are lots of LNG companies, since many rural homes use it for fuel. In the big cities, at least here in LA, there are numerous places with LNG.
  • SylviaSylvia Member Posts: 1,636
    The biggest challenges to going with a hydrogen or LNG powered-vehicle country is the infrastructure of providing places to fill-up.

    When the country made the shift from regular leaded gas to unleaded gasoline this was an issue. It took years to move the country and stations to this. I remember my Dad driving his '62 Caddy and on long road trips in the late '70's had to plan where to stop and get gas.
  • vahardballvahardball Member Posts: 2
    I have been researching with very limited success the possibility of converting a Ford Sport Trac to CNG/LNG/Dual Fuel use in Northern Virginia. I would use it mostly for commuting to and fro from Washington DC. In my search I found a story on an adaptor for home filling from your Natural Gas that supplies your house. It is a special adaptor that allows the NG to be compressed into your vehicle tank.

    Would love to know if anyone has heard or knows of companies that specialize in the engine conversions in my area
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    CNG is a great fuel. It has it's down sides also. The tank and conversion is expensive. You have to be very careful not to damage the tank, which needs periodic inspection. There are many taxi
    cabs in San Diego that run on it and several places to refill. I would imagine the same is true for Washington DC area. Here is a list of companies that do the conversion. Good luck
  • vahardballvahardball Member Posts: 2
    Thanks for the information, I have sent for the particulars on costs/benefits to do my truck as a bi-fuel vehicle. Seems like CNG allows for that where LNG is too fussy because of the cold temps it requires as well as LNG being more dangerous because of the super cold temps.
  • yerth10yerth10 Member Posts: 431
    Pennsylvania’s CATA Completes Bus Fleet Conversion to CNG
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    I live in State College, Pa and the same story was in our local paper. To be honest, I thought the bus fleet was already 100% CNG powered. I can't recall the last time I saw one of the CATA buses that wasn't!
  • mistermemisterme Member Posts: 407
    Atlanta's transit is MARTA, the busses here were converted to natural gas a long time ago.
    Sure makes a big difference as compared to the old diesel or gasoline units.

    Post #2 quotes "$423 for 15k miles"
    If that figure reflects recent NG prices, it is simply fantastic.

    My HCH isn't doing quite that, based on today's $1.95/Gallon:
    15,000 miles / 60MPG = 250 Gallons of gas.
    250 * $1.95 (Today's gasoline price)
    I'll pay about $475 for 15K miles in my hybrid.

    The main problem as mentioned is delivery. Finding a station that sells diesel is hard enough, but my whole city doesn't even have a a NG line, we're all on heat pumps for our homes. As far as I know, I'd have to commute 50 miles into Atlanta just to fuel my car with NG.

    I'm still hoping for fuel cell automobiles, perhaps the fuel can be delivered by truck, and not have to flow through a pipe. Truck would be least expensive in rural areas without laying a pipe.
  • yerth10yerth10 Member Posts: 431
    Nat-gas (Methane:Formula CH4) is the simplest of all HydroCarbons.
    Its worldwide reserves are equal to Crude Oil Reserves which means there is any much CNG as Propane + Gasoline + Diesel put together.
    It makes sense to make a big move to Nat-gas once the technical constraints are overcome.

    However Hydrogen is the simplest of all Elements.

    However Electricity is the simplest of all Energy Sources (along with Heat & Light).

    Investing in all 3 is better answer to todays high Oil Prices.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    If you are considering the Civic GX, cleanest car that CARB ever tested. You may want to contact this company. You can fuel your CNG car in your garage and have a 200 mile range. Price $3400 plus installation, available today. It will save you money, not sure exactly how much. Need more research.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    No free drive "the cleanest internal combustion engine in the world" you will pay an even higher "price premium" than the Civic Hybrid:

    "Q: How much does the 2005 Civic GX cost?
    A: The GX has an incremental price of $4,500 (MSRP), more than the base price of a conventional gasoline-powered Civic. But there are often tax credits, incentives, access to HOV lanes and/or other benefits to help offset the incremental cost."

    More on this page:

    So, in summary, the Civic GX is cleaner than a Civic Hybrid (as long as you are comparing PZEV vs PZEV) but it costs more per mile than the Civic Hybrid (.55 vs .42) and it's range is limited and it's "home-based refueling" system is very time consuming (assuming you can even GET CNG piped to your home, which I personally cannot) and the CNG fuel stations are few and far between, and the idea that you can even BUY ONE outside of fleet sales is still up for question.

    Seems like the CNG solution is WAY more trouble than the Hybrid and only slightly more "ready for prime time" than the Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

    Clean though, no doubt. !!!!!!!
  • electrictroyelectrictroy Member Posts: 564 "green score":

    Civic CNG = 57/100
    Civic Hybrid = 51/100

    CNG is cleaner, but it's not a signifigant amount. I wouldn't pay an extra $4500 for it.

  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    assuming you can even GET CNG piped to your home, which I personally cannot

    If you don't have natural gas at your home you are out of luck. The actual cost per mile is less than for a hybrid according to the EPA. However if you are buying from a refueling station they may jack up the price to stay even with gasoline. Yes the hybrid is a simpler solution. The hybrid is also a much more complex solution, with many more unknown costs after the warranty is up. I personally think the dual fuel is a better alternative. I tried to get my 1993 Chevy 3/4 ton PU converted to CNG. The company I was working with went out of business. The home refueling systems were about $8k at the time so that has come down a lot. The conversion to CNG/gas was about $5k.
  • mistermemisterme Member Posts: 407
    Count me out.
    I'd be refueling every other day. :(
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    You would be the real winner with CNG. Unless you work day & night the car refuels over night. ready to go in the morning with enough gas for 200 miles. If you get 50 MPG with the HCH you would probably get 36 MPG plus with the GX and the fuel is about half the price of regular gas. Natural gas is not tied to the price of oil like gasoline is. Half as many oil changes. NO batteries or paraphenelia to worry over.
  • yerth10yerth10 Member Posts: 431
    Civic-GX is meant only for those in state like California or even better in countries like Argentina, Brazil, Pakistan, Italy who have an extensive network of CNG stations. May be if phill is cheaper to buy and install and can get the ROI, more people in USA will be interested.

    A Bi-fuel which can go another 200 miles on Gasoline will boost the sales like the Hybrids do. Let us see how the Civic-2006 goes, since it may have a 5-door GX which offers lot of trunk space.
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    Be careful giving advice to people regarding how much savings they might have when switching to an alternate fuel....NO fuel is completely stable priced.

    Actually CNG is more expensive than gas in some places.

    "When the station at 1100 S. Sherman opened, natural gas cost about 80 cents for the amount equivalent to a gallon of gasoline. Gasoline cost about $1.29 a gallon. Today, the price for CNG is $1.70 and the city is paying about $1.60 a gallon for gasoline."

    From this story:
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    VERY COOL development:

    "Playing With Frozen Fire By Stephen Leahy
    02:00 AM Mar. 17, 2005 PT

    More energy is trapped under the sea as frozen natural gas than is stored in all the world's oil reserves -- and researchers this week took a step toward tapping it.

    Vast reserves of methane hydrates -- a form of natural gas -- could power the world for decades to come. But mining the deep, frozen deposits presents an enormous technical challenge.

    An estimated 200,000 trillion cubic feet of methane hydrates exists under the sea, and the Department of Energy has a major research program under way that could result in commercial production starting by 2015. ",1282,66925,00.html/wn_ascii
  • mistermemisterme Member Posts: 407
    I've heard that report too.
    Now, if they can only get more miles to the NG tank.
  • yerth10yerth10 Member Posts: 431

    Sharjah emirate in UAE (like Scotland in UK) plans to convert all their buses to CNG. Its possible there as its population is very small. If they suceed, other emirates may follow and finally smaller countries like Singapore, Mauritius, etc.

    Some take CNG route and others take LNG route.

    According to Wall Street Journal, Qatar plans to buy 70 LNG tanker ships at a cost of $15 billion. Nat-gas use is surging like anything.
  • electrictroyelectrictroy Member Posts: 564
    Natural gas is *still* a fossil fuel. All you've done is trade one limited resource (oil) for another (NG). You haven't really solved the problem.

  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    You haven't really solved the problem.

    I agree. I see the best solution as a modern diesel vehicle and migrate to using biodiesel as it becomes more readily available. Plus it is very FE compared to CNG or Ethanol.
  • nick923nick923 Member Posts: 2
    Argentina has 1.1 million natural-gas-powered cars and on average 25,000 cars are being converted to natural-gas fuel every month, according to the government.

    I don't understand why USA is not doing the same, if USA convert 10% of our vehicles to natural gas then USA could reduce oil imports by 20%.

    As I understand natural gas is 20% more effective, cost less and burns cleaner, so why question is what are we waiting for?
  • nick923nick923 Member Posts: 2
    just found new numbers
    Argentina has 1.2 million NGV
    Brazil has 600,000 NGV
    USA has 140,000 NGV

    USA is a smart and rich country, why don't we have more NGV then Argentina?
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    why don't we have more NGV then Argentina?

    Welcome to the forum. Part of the reason is we are spoiled. CNG/LNG vehicles have a limited range. CNG vehicles are more costly to maintain. We have very strict regulations on inspecting the tanks. Most of our CNG vehicles are taxi cabs and buses. I think a Civic GX with PHILL in the garage is a great way to go. They just never seemed to gain momentum. And they have less emissions than the cleanest hybrid. I think you can get up to $4000 tax Credit on a CNG vehicle.
  • poboypoboy Member Posts: 11
    Does anyone know where I can get some info on the Contour and the Cavalier CNG vehicles? I'm looking for some consumer experiences with these, but I'll take any info I can get. I went to a GSA auction last week and they were going for sub $5,000 for sub 30,000 miles. I think I'll start out with one of these then move up to the GX if I like the CNG experience.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    I think the Contour is an aftermarket conversion. Unless it is older than 1996. The Cavalier duel fuel was built up to 2004. If they are like the PU trucks I have used you can switch back and forth. Real nice if no CNG is available. The thing to take into consideration is those tanks have to be inspected periodically. That can get expensive. I would think a late model Cavalier CNG for $5k would be worth the risk. Used GX are also pretty reasonably priced. They are not big sellers because of the range and lack of CNG stations.
  • moore101moore101 Member Posts: 39
    WARNING, if you are purchasing a NGV to have carpool lane access in CA the Contour and Cavalier are not eligable. Here is a list of cars that are:
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    They are duel fuel cars. I guess you can only use CNG to qualify. Good to know.
  • poboypoboy Member Posts: 11
    I live in only need bi-fuel for HOV lane access. Id get a used Civic GX, but they are hard to come by in Phoenix. Id have to ship one from California since Phoenix is well over the 300 mile driving range of the GX. Anyway, at $3900 for the Contour...I'm going to give it a shot unless someone has some poor reliability info on it or the Cavalier. If it lasts even just 2 years worry free, I'll be very pleased. Plus, the gas/cng system will be very beneficial for visiting my family in Northern AZ.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    Having the option to use gasoline is a big Plus. Not enough CNG outlets at this time.

    I hope it works out well for you. Keep us posted on your experience.
  • moore101moore101 Member Posts: 39
    The contour is a good car, I don't know but the engine is probably the same as the gas only cars for the most part. CNG burns cleaner which makes the engine run longer. The only issue is the transmissions on the contours aren't that strong so change the fluid often.
  • gx222gx222 Member Posts: 32
    The Contour bi-fuel design sounds like a great design, addressing one of the biggest problems with the Honda, the lack of range and fueling stations.

    The Contour will no doubt have a lot better A/C system than the Honda. My Honda's A/C would never keep me cold in Phoenix temperatures, it doesn't even work that well with mild Calif temperatures.
  • cngusercnguser Member Posts: 59
    Via GSA Auctions, I bought a 2000 Contour at 42K miles in 8-04, liked it, found it most satisfactory and bought another at barely 10K miles in 6-05. (The 1999 models do NOT have power windows, mirrors, and door locks). I buy CNG for under $1.75/gal and find it runs great. Very convenient to let it run out then it automatically goes to gasoline. I get about 105 miles in city driving, and 133 miles on highway with the 4 gal tank. They get about 26 MPG city, and 33 highway. They are 3000 psi systems, not 3600 like the Honda, Cavalier, and some others. Combined with gasoline, that makes quite an extended cruise range. Both cars were well maintained, in fine condition, and have needed only routine maintenance. I sold both my gasoline only cars, and am saving good $ on fuel, while helping cut pollution, etc. Hoping to buy a home CNG fueler sometime.
    NOTE: The GNG/Gas Cavalier models have no power options (1999-2004) which I consider a disadvantage.
  • poboypoboy Member Posts: 11
    Great info cnguser! Assuming you are in Phoenix or a state that allows HOV access to bi-fuel vehicles, do you get looks from people at gas stations when you fill up with regular gas? I forsee myself using 50% gas and 50% CNG on a weekly basis until I can get better access to a CNG station (hoping to get a home station in December). I still dont get why the Cavaliers go for more at the auctions. I'll just assume it's because the Cavs were 2001 and the Contours were 2000.

    Anyway, Contour it is. Anything I should look out for on these? Would you say the 10,000 mile car was worth the extra money when compared to the 40k? Last GSA auction I went to they all looked identicle aside from color options. The next auction is August 5th...I'm pretty excited. THANKS!
  • cngusercnguser Member Posts: 59
    Both my 2000 Contours from Seattle auctions, but reside in Portland, OR. No breaks on using the carpool lanes here for CNG vehicles.
    The low miles created a bid tug-o-war with a dealer at the auction, but I wanted it more as it was in near mint condition inside and out. So GSA got a premium price.
    Be sure to test run before auction in each switch mode: "ALT" & "GAS". You must turn the key COMPLETELY off when changing modes. In ALT the green light should be on and some reading on the gas gage. In GAS, the light is off, and gage should read gas tank level. If you don't get the green light in ALT, I would not buy it. Could be out of CNG or something wrong...
    Also check CNG tank inspection label under hood - mine good thru 2015.
    Also check for the "BI-FUEL Owner's Guide Supplement" in the glove box - explains the system operation.
    Only unknown is where to find a certified CNG technician should a problem arise with the CNG components as they cannot be legally serviced at a typical auto
    repair shop. Still looking just in case, but have not needed one. The system is made failsafe to run on gasoline, so you aren't stranded.
    It is a shame Ford & Chevy quit making this type car for the US - bending to oil co interests and gov lack of support. Yet today in Europe you can buy 4 versions of the Ford Focus that are CNG...
  • nostrom0nostrom0 Member Posts: 44

    They have nine different CNG models. Click autos, then Focus, then GNC and it'll display the different vehicles.
  • poboypoboy Member Posts: 11
    Slim pickens at this months GSA auction. There are 2 1999 with 62k miles and one with 18k. The 62k didnt have CNG in it - the light didnt light up at least. The one with 18k...battery was dead and the dash was peeling up... I assume I could fix that relatively easily...seems to be a known problem with them. Otherwise it "looked" good. The auction isnt till Friday so ill swing by tomorrow to check out the 18k one again - hopefully they've got the battery charged up. 62k miles seems little much. They had a bunch of Cavaliers, but the Contours were a much better class vehicle with the locks, windows, size and decent seats/appolstrey.

    Quick the gasoline tank the same size as a normal Contour tank or is it smaller? Just want to get an idea of how far I could drive it w/o having to fill up either systems.

    FYI: I stopped by the public CNG station by Phoenix airport...price was $2.04 a gallon. That's a LOT higher than I was expecting. I am going to stop by another place on the way home tonight...hopefully it'll be closer to $1.65.
  • nostrom0nostrom0 Member Posts: 44
    Phill system is by far the best. $1.04/gallon.
  • truckinusatruckinusa Member Posts: 2
    I was kinda interested in whether or not it would cost me any more money in fuel to use a cng vehicle. I live in Plano,TX and commute around 30 miles to Irving,TX where I work right across the street from the CNG pump. Its run by Clean Energy. I was wondering if I can even get access to this fuel. Its a pump that the city uses for all their vehicles, but its public it looks like.
  • nostrom0nostrom0 Member Posts: 44
    CNG fuel is definitely cheaper than gasoline. Clean Energy stations are open to the public. If you use Clean Energy pumps, which are the most expensive, the difference may be as little as $0.50/gallon. If there is a county or city owned pump, they are generally much cheaper. Check for other fueling locations.
  • cngusercnguser Member Posts: 59
    CAPACITY: Read the labeling at driver door frame and/or under hood. Contour is 4 gal but system only runs at 3000 psi. Cavalier is likely similar, but runs at 3000 or 3600 psi. At 3600 psi fill up, you get more capacity, thus more miles than at 3000 psi. Slow fill home units give you the most fill over the commercial fast fill stations.
    FUEL COST: Do your homework. If it is a cardlock station, inquire how to sign up. May be a monthly fee. There is quite a range of pricing nationwide and within each local area. The best deal per gallon equivalent (excluding equipment costs, electricity, etc.) is with a home fueling unit.
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