With gasoline prices creeping up again to as high as an average of $4.67 a gallon (€1.23 a liter) in California on Tuesday, according to the AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report, Honda thought it would be a good idea to launch a new promotion for its natural gas-powered Civic.
The Japanese carmaker said that it will offer customers purchasing a new 2012 Civic Natural Gas Vehicle (NGV) at participating dealers from now until January 2, 2013, a debit card pre-loaded with $3,000 worth of fuel.
As always, there's some small print including that the card can only be used at Clean Energy CNG fueling stations around the country to purchase fuel. There are approximately 150 Clean Energy filling stations in the U.S., 40 of which are located inside California.
According to the most recent Department of Energy, Clean Cities Alternative Fuel Price report on fuel prices, the nation-wide average price of natural gas fuel for vehicles in July was $2.05 per equivalent gasoline gallon.
Even though Honda is a Japanese company, the automaker points out that the Civic NGV is made at its U.S. plant in Greensburg, Indiana, and that 98 per cent of natural gas consumed in North America is domestically produced.
The Civic NGV is powered by a natural gas variant of the 1.8-liter engine used in the regular model that delivers an output of 110Hp returning a combined EPA fuel economy rating of 31 mpg (7.6lt/100km), which is the same as the manual gearbox-equipped 1.8L gasoline models.
Honda says that the NGV should be able to cover over 200 miles (320km) on a single tank of fuel, depending, of course, on driving conditions and style.
Another benefit (though, in the long run), for California residents is that the Civic NGV qualifies for single-occupant access to High Occupancy Vehicle "carpool" lanes from March 2, 2014 through January 1, 2015.
"With gas prices spiking in California, Civic Natural Gas vehicles sales at an all-time high, and the public gaining greater awareness of the benefits of using natural gas, we believe this a great time to launch our fuel card promotion with our partner Clean Energy," commented Steve Center, vice president of the American Honda Environmental Business Development Office.
The 2012 Civic NGV is priced at $26,305 excluding a $790 destination charge, making it the most expensive model in the range. For reference, the base Civic Sedan 1.8L starts at $15,955, while the 44mpg Civic Hybrid at $24,200, again excluding destination.
With that in mind, what do you think about the Natural Gas version of the Civic; is it worth it? Leave your comments right past the break.