Driving On The Cheap

Honda Civic

Take a look at the car in my driveway. It appears to be just a plain 2005 Honda Civic. I purchased it last Friday to help me drive down the cost of transportation. With only V6 engines in my other vehicles I decided to make a change, ready for higher gas prices next summer.

How much cheaper is this Civic for me to drive? Well this is Utah and this Civic is a Natural Gas Vehicle (NGV). With Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) at a subsidized 93 cents GGE throughout the state I really am driving on the cheap.

CNG Advantages

Natural Gas Vehicle

Natural Gas Vehicle

These advantages potentially affect me directly or indirectly economically:

  • Park for free at Salt Lake City parking meters with a Salt Lake City “Green Vehicle” parking permit.
  • Use the Express/HOV Lanes for free while driving alone.
  • Subsidized fuel at less than a dollar GGE.
  • $2,500 tax credit on a first time registration in Utah.
  • CNG is free from adulteration and theft.
  • Less maintenance costs as compared with other fuel-powered vehicles.
  • Fuel system is sealed, preventing any spill or evaporation losses.
  • Increased life of lubricating oils.
  • Mixes easily and evenly in air.
  • Less likely to auto-ignite on hot surfaces.

These advantages affect the community directly or indirectly:

  • Non-toxic and free from benzene.
  • Produces significantly less emissions of pollutants as compared to gasoline.
  • Produced in Utah.
  • Delivered to the service station by pipeline.
I test drove and filled a Cavalier.

I test drove and filled a Cavalier.

CNG Drawbacks

  • Fuel storage needs a greater amount of space.
  • Limited availability of refueling stations.
  • Reduced driving range.
  • Higher vehicle cost.
  • Less choice of vehicles.
  • Converted vehicles have 5% — 10% reduced power.
  • For CNG only vehicles running out of fuel can be very inconvenient.

Summary

CNG_Pump

Me by a CNG pump,

I filled up for the first time last night. It was straight-forward though a little different. The pump was the old style non-digital readout type (not the one pictured). The car gas gauge (interesting that it is still called a gas gauge) was reading 1/4 left. It cost $4.56 to fill and took about the same time as filling a gasoline tank with the same amount of fuel. That is probably enough for about 150 miles. I expect to get 200 miles out of a tank. If there is interest I will post my mileage and CNG use in a future post. I’m used to larger cars but this Civic surprised me with quite some zip. It was a gas to drive.

If you are interested in a used CNG car yourself, check out the CNG Utah website where I purchased my Honda. The folks there were low pressure and friendly. Perhaps you already own a CNG powered vehicle. How do you like it? What have been your savings? Would you purchase another CNG?

By now you may have figured out that my purchase of this CNG Civic was purely economic. As far as the environment is concerned I am against Cap and Trade. The threat from CO2 (plant food) has been greatly overstated. The earth has enough and to spare. Just relax and use the resources God has given you and go out into the world with a little less fear and trembling. You will do just fine in your stewardship despite what Al Gore says.

Updates

14 Dec 2011 — There is now a CNG station right in my hometown.
1 Jan 2012 — Without the 50 cent a gallon federal subsidy the price has risen to $1.50/gge in Utah.

Rickety signature.

Comments

  1. Wow! Awesome car… do you allow test drives? :)

  2. thread gauge says:

    Honda Civic is a luxurious car in my country and so I won’t call it cheap.

Speak Your Mind