Californians seeking access to the state's High Occupancy Vehicle lanes need look no further than the Honda Civic GX, a compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicle that's permitted to use HOV lanes until January 2015.
The Honda, which is the only CNG-fueled light-duty passenger vehicle available in the U.S., earns Inherently Low Emissions Vehicle (ILEV) status and therefore qualifies for California's white sticker. These stickers are available in unlimited quantities, unlike the state's yellow stickers that expired on July 1, 2011.
The CNG-burnin' 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas will launch in the fall and gets, according to Honda's estimates, 27/38/31 miles per gasoline gallon equivalent (that's city/highway/combined). Compared to the outgoing 2011 model, city fuel economy improves by 12.5 percent, and highway mileage is up 5.5 percent.
It's important to note that the latest Civic Hybrid, although it does indeed earn darn good fuel efficiency marks, does not qualify for HOV lane usage.
So, drivers in California seeking access to HOV lanes have a handful of options, including snatching up a a late model Civic GX, waiting for the upcoming Civic Natural Gas, buying a Nissan Leaf or hunting down one of these remaining qualified vehicles.
All-new Civic Natural Gas model on-sale this fall
07/11/2011 - TORRANCE, Calif.
California drivers of the current Civic GX compressed natural gas (CNG) - powered Civic and all-new Civic Natural Gas will continue to have access to the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) highway lane until January 2015. Honda is the only OEM currently selling in the United States a dedicated CNG-powered light duty vehicle designed and manufactured for retail sale. As an Inherently Low Emissions Vehicle (ILEV), the Civic Natural Gas qualifies for White Clean Air Vehicle decals, which are available in an unlimited quantity. Yellow Clean Air Vehicle decals for hybrid vehicles expired on July 1, 2011.
"Civic GX drivers in California have long enjoyed the benefits of driving a compressed natural gas vehicle, whether it was saving time commuting in the carpool lane, paying lower fuel prices, reducing dependence on oil or reducing their CO2 footprint," said Elmer Hardy, senior manager of alternative fuel marketing at American Honda Motor Co., Inc. "With the all-new model coming this fall, drivers will continue to earn these benefits along with additional commuter-friendly features."
The 2012 Civic Natural Gas model receives innovative features consistent with the entire all-new Civic lineup. The new "intelligent" Multi-Information Display (i-MID) provides a convenient platform for integration of vehicle information and compatible personal electronics with a driver-oriented 5-inch color LCD display and intuitive steering wheel controls. Bluetooth® HandsFreeLink® for compatible mobile phones and a USB audio interface for compatible music players are also standard. For the first time ever, the Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation System with voice recognition and FM Traffic is available in the Civic Natural Gas. The navigation system database uniquely includes retail CNG fueling locations.
The Civic Natural Gas (named the Civic GX from 1998-2011) has a Honda-estimated city/highway/combined fuel economy rating1 of 27/38/31 miles per gallon (gasoline-gallon equivalent). Compared to the 2011 model, city fuel economy improves by 12.5 percent, and highway fuel economy is up by 5.5 percent. The Civic Natural Gas includes Honda's ECO Assist™ technology, an innovation that can enhance efficient vehicle operation at the touch of a button while also providing visual feedback to promote and confirm an efficient driving style.
Drivers of compressed natural gas vehicles enjoy a growing public station network, for convenient and economical refueling. California has the most robust compressed natural gas infrastructure in the nation, with over 110 public stations located throughout the state. From a value standpoint, when purchased at public fueling stations, natural gas historically has cost about 30-percent less per gasoline-gallon-equivalent (GGE) compared to gasoline.
Demand for the current Civic GX in California has been unprecedented, with sales tripling for the first half of the year compared to the same period last year. Interested customers in the new 2012 Civic Natural Gas are encouraged to visit their local qualified Honda Natural Gas dealer.