Honda's alternative-fuel efforts are focused on compressed natural gas, not ethanol. Consumer Reports has just released its test of the Honda Civic GX, which is priced about $7,000 more than a standard Civic. But the benefits include much cleaner emissions and energy cost that is about half that of gasoline.

CR tried out the home refueling station called Phill and said Honda can apply what it learns about CNG refueling to its future hydrogen efforts. The big problem, of course, is that natural gas is not available everywhere.

CR didn't notice a difference in driving the vehicle and acknowledged that some states allow CNG vehicles in the HOV lane.

The EPA says the Civic GX has the cleanest internal combustion it has ever tested. That draws the attention of lawmakers who offer federal and sometimes state tax credits. California even offers credit toward the purchase of a Phill unit.

Other notes from the CR test: range was about 220 to 260 miles. Natural gas in your home isn't pressurized, so it takes Phill all night to fill up the tank. The federal government says CNG vehicles are as safe as gas vehicles.

Bottom line: CNG has its advantages and disadvantages.

[Source: Consumer Reports]

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