I asked Eric Rosenberg, Honda’s Assistant Manager, Alternative Fuel Vehicles, Why Natural Gas? The list was long, “It’s plentiful, it’s cleaner than petrol/gasoline and it’s an American resource, and it’s extremely affordable”. The best known use for natural gas is to heat our homes, but Rosenberg thinks Natural gas has been under-appreciated as an automotive energy.
Part of the problem is infrastructure. Gasoline has been building on their infrastructure for over 100 hundred years. Rosenberg says there are over 100,000 gasoline stations in the United States and barely 1,000 natural gas stations.
The Honda Civic natural gas is built in the United States and sold, only, in the United States. Currently, Honda is the only manufacturer to produce a natural gas vehicle for the mass market. There are vehicles built as gasoline unit’s, and then remanufactured as a natural gas by upfitters, then brought back into the distribution to be sold as natural gas vehicles.
Natural gas is in most every home. Electricity is made out of natural gas. Hal Snyder, Southern California gas makes the point that it is electricity that causes power outages, not natural gas.
One of the attributes Rosenberg listed is that Natural gas has the same range as gasoline. The tank has to be bigger on a natural gas vehicle, taking up space which means you may get the same miles per gallon, but you won’t have the same trunk space, or your driving range will be less.
Honda has been producing natural gas vehicles since 1998. They have mainly been fleet vehicles. Honda has decided to bring the vehicle to market, to the retail market.
When will we go from Natural gas to bio-gas, a much cleaner natural gas?