The 2012 Green Car of the Year award was snagged from the electric and diesel jaws of its competitors by the Honda Civic Natural Gas. In a year full of standard gasoline powertrain alternatives, the Civic beat out the Ford Focus Electric, Mitsubishi i, Toyota Prius V and the Volkswagen Passat TDI.

Green Car Journal hands out the award and its rules state that the GCOTY needs to have a "quantifiable environmental achievement," market significance and "newness." Any car that has these clearly defined features and is available for sale by January 1, 2012 can be a nominee, and the list of finalists is whittled down by GCJ editors and selected industry and environmental experts.

Over the last four years, the GCOTY was won by a hybrid (the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid in 2008), diesels (the Volkswagen Jetta TDI in 2009 and the Audi A3 TDI in 2010) and a plug-in hybrid (the Chevrolet Volt in 2011). In our informal poll we put up when the five finalists were announced a month ago, the Focus Electric dominated the field.


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  • 113 Comments
      JP
      • 3 Years Ago
      What a joke. CNG vehicles are a terrible waste of NG compared to using it in a combined cycle generating plant to power EV's. A home compressor uses over 6 kWh's of electricity to put about 100 miles of range into a tank, not counting the energy used to compress and pump the gas to your home in the first place. http://ephase.blogspot.com/2011/02/why-not-natural-gas.html
        Michael
        • 3 Years Ago
        @JP
        I beg to differ. Now it isn't widespread, but there are Compressed Natural Gas filling stations. And, Natural Gas is clean burning. And, since natural gas is plentiful in the United States, well, why not use it? Plus, there is less environmental impact with natural gas than with drilling for crude oil. Get your facts straight, JP.
          JP
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Michael
          My facts are quite straight. There are serious issues with NG extraction, there are a handful of CNG filling stations in the US, existing NG pipelines are degrading and exploding with alarming regularity, and estimated reserves of NG in the US have recently been severely down graded. NG is a limited, non renewable fossil fuel, and if we are going to use it we should do so in the most efficient manner, which is not burning it in millions of inefficient ICE vehicles. Get your facts straight, Michael.
      dal
      • 3 Years Ago
      This would be great if our goverment was like that of Brazil, which through laws demand any filling station make avialible all sources of viable alterative fuels at the pump. If that were the case here folks with flex fuel cars and trucks could not just get gas and diesel but pure alcohal which cost half of that as gas plus they would also be able to pump natural gas now that there a cars that run on it. Brazil has been doing this since the middle 1970's and have cut their nation dependence on foreign oil from 80% to only 10%, But this is the united corperation of america where they won't offer anything like this til they have sold us the very last drop of OPEC oil.
        invisibleblog
        • 3 Years Ago
        @dal
        That's why Honda has an E100 Civic and Fit forsale in Brazil. The car can be switched to 100% gas too.
      • 3 Years Ago
      They've been making ufo's since the beginning of recorded history. No one's been able to identify the power source yet?! Just assuming they're not running on premium, as I never see em at the pumps.
      EZEE
      • 3 Years Ago
      Radical Rigth Wing Extremist Here... Honest question... How does natural gas compare to gasoline in regards to CO2 emissions? I hear everyone saying that this result is less than desirable, but am curious if the natural gas car is 'just as bad' - or better but not great....? Also, if it is better but not great, how does it compare to a hybrid? Again, not being provocative, not trying to make anyone angry (Noz) - just curious as I hear natural gas is better, but here people say it is not. Thanks in advance.
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        that's an honest question. but I've been missing your right wing declaration in articles about right wingers doing stuff that's overtly stupid. why is that : ) it's my impression that 'natural' gas is about the same CO2 wise as gasoline. say +-20%. both are fossil fuels and both are hydrocarbons, roughly speaking of the alkane molecule family (carbon string with hydrogen around them) the shorter the string the lower the boiling point so it's a gas at room temperature. gasoline is longer molecules and diesel a bit longer still but roughly the same chemistry. natural gas is purer because gas naturally separates from other stuff and it burns more purely. the CO2 is still produced but no funky pollutants like sulfur compounds and there are less particles. afaik so much better that you could reasonably be around such emission so for congested cities it's more healthy. but the CO2 is still there, it ads to global warming and it's a finite resource. then there is the nasty business of getting the natural gas. the documentary gasland paints a very grim picture. overall it's not at all unlike pissing your pants to stay warm. it is stupid in the extreme which is why declaring this car green car of the year is a very questionable decision. not that the available selection this year is great but the Ford focus electric should easily beat it. even the Fisker Karma hog should greatly beat it. it's a simple fact that it's a conventionally inefficient fossil fuel car.. in 2012 that's just not a green car.. I'd give them a nice round F for the decision. maybe even a T for treason
        Michael
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        Natural gas is used to heat houses. Do you think if it was a s bad as gasoline as far as emissions that the government would let it be used for heating our homes? Not that there aren't risks with natural gas... lines can leak... explosions... but then again isn't there a risk in just about anything we do?
          EZEE
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Michael
          Good point - if anyone is following this thread still - the major complaint is fracking, then. Any idea how much natural gas comes from fracking versus traditional means?
        thagrus
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        The best in anyones book is no residue at all .
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        The radical right wing extremist bit probably gets old after a while. I figure I need to change things up here and there... As far as right wingers doing overtly stupid things...I think...hmmmm, only thingi can think of is the Neil Cavuto stuff,, and I usually joke about the divorce rate comment....if I skip another article, I figure everyone here will have things. Well covered. Even Marco joins in....
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @EZEE
        CO2 output is about 25%-33% lower. Where natural gas shines is the output of other pollutants though. http://www.naturalgas.org/environment/naturalgas.asp. Honestly i'd be all for NG if we had less destructive ways of getting to it. It would be a good fuel source with few drawbacks, and we do have a lot of it in North America.
      wallymundo
      • 3 Years Ago
      FYI enviromaniac's Obama is shutting down power plants all over the country!!! "Your electric bill will necessarily SKYROCKET" Hmmmmm an additional $250 a month for your wind/solar powered $50,000 golf cart. And don't forget that Obama EPA fine, looks like the 2016 auto show will feature Schwinn, Huffy, and Marargi. Now lets talk about food prices!!!!
      wallymundo
      • 3 Years Ago
      Every Enviromaniac should own one of these tree hugger cars, forced down the "We the Peoples" throat. The Obama motors boondoggle is alive and well, we will be paying fines to the Obama EPA when we have to dispose of the batteries. OMG another enviromental disaster in the making!!!
      Letstakeawalk
      • 3 Years Ago
      Kudos to Honda!
      StevenG
      • 3 Years Ago
      How can you give a "green" award to a car that only runs on non-renewable, greenhouse gas producing fuel?
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 3 Years Ago
        @StevenG
        indeed. corruption or incompetence.
          Chris M
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Dan Frederiksen
          For once, Dan, I agree with you. The "Green Car Journal" has had a long history of ignoring greener vehicles and giving their annual award to a not-nearly-as-green car.
        thagrus
        • 3 Years Ago
        @StevenG
        This is aol anything is possible
      • 3 Years Ago
      The wrong thing about cng is the goverment leaves big loophole for people to fillup w/o paying roaduse tax.When they figure out how to tax it,it will happen.CNG is great.Until the fill stations are more in number,a car should be bi-fuel in the meantime.Die is put in offroad fuel which is not taxed.
      RED SKULL
      • 3 Years Ago
      Too bad the closest CNG station is 100 mile away ! Car of the year? Not in this world. Try the Chevy Cruze or Ford Focus I can gas it up two blocks from here. costs 10k less than the Honda and are built by American companies employing American workers paying American taxes and raising American children.
        invisibleblog
        • 3 Years Ago
        @RED SKULL
        RED SKULL , Wow, lot's of ignorant statements there. The main one I want to point out is. The Civic is also built by American workers paying American taxes and raising American children.
        StevenG
        • 3 Years Ago
        @RED SKULL
        You can have a CNG station installed in your home. Maybe you should educate yourself before you start a rant.
          Mike
          • 3 Months Ago
          @StevenG
          Um, well, Honda doesn't recommend that any more. http://automobiles.honda.com/civic-natural-gas/faq.aspx "Q: Can I refuel at home? A: Because of moisture and other contaminants inherent in some natural gas supplies, and the inability of some home refueling systems to adequately dry the gas and remove contaminants, Honda does not currently recommend home refueling at this time[5]." "[5] Honda does not recommend home refueling at this time. Moisture and contaminants in some natural gas supplies in the U.S. can damage the fuel system. If you choose to install a home refueling device, consult with the equipment manufacturer and local natural gas contractor to determine if the fuel quality dispensed into your vehicle can meet industry standards. See your Honda Civic Natural Gas dealer for details." Total Fail for Honda. The whole point of a home fueling station is to filter and compress the gas to the pressure required for the car's tank. I would sooner buy a BEV that I can charge at home.
      johngermaine8
      • 3 Years Ago
      If it has a battery it is not green nor efficent. Think of all the Green Brains at the Power statens of the future. Bet no one buys and Detroit continues to be 34% unemployment and democratic.
        Ford Future
        • 3 Years Ago
        @johngermaine8
        My hybrid cut my gas bill by 60%. So, you're wrong. How much does your Catalytic Convert cost?
          EZEE
          • 3 Months Ago
          @Ford Future
          Hey ford. Which car do you have?
        Chris M
        • 3 Years Ago
        @johngermaine8
        " If it has a battery it is not green nor efficent " Well, every car on the road has a battery, so does most electronic gadgets. The presence of a battery alone doesn't make something efficient, but batteries and electric motors are a heck of a lot more efficient than any internal combustion engine could ever be. Even fossil fueled power plants are more efficient than gas or diesel vehicles, thanks to efficiency boosting devices too large for vehicle use. Electricity comes from many sources, some renewable, all local and not imported - we can't say the same for oil. Result is, EVs are considerably more efficient and produce less pollution than gassers, even when "coal powered". " Bet no one buys and Detroit continues to be 34% unemployment and democratic." The Honda Natural Gas Civic is selling well enough, considering the lack of public refueling facilities. EVs and plug-in hybrids are doing even better. Detroit is reviving, thanks to improved sales by Ford, GM, and Chrysler, so unemployment is dropping. Honda makes their cars elsewhere. But I do suspect Detroit will remain mostly Democratic, simply because so many Republicans like Mitt Romney would have let it fail completely. So that's one out of 3.
        Michael
        • 3 Years Ago
        @johngermaine8
        I agree to a point, but think about how many cubic feet of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide a natural gas vehicle will keep from our air compared to a gasoline-powered vehicle over it's lifetime. Before you chastize the car makers, think if much of the process of building cars is green. Not much is, but there is more waste being reused and recycled today too. It is a lesser of two evils thing, I agree.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 3 Years Ago
      As we discover the ill effects of fracking for natural gas, a car that runs on a fuel source that is becoming more environmentally damaging has a "quantifiable environmental achievement"? Are these folks sponsored by halliburton or something?
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