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2007 Honda Civic GX Natural Gas Vehicle

by Martha Hindes

2007 Honda Civic GX NGV
2007 Honda Civic GX Interior

There's not much room for luggage. No surge of unbridled power underfoot. Filling up on a trip could require a search. So why buy a natural gas powered auto when so many vehicles out there can drive rings around it? Call it conscience. Foresight. A way to avoid the crowd.

Honda's GX goes beyond the Civic's dependable, popular image to bring its natural gas powered compact auto to a dealership near you. Well, maybe. Retail customers in New York State or California will undoubtedly get first crack at it, with other areas not far behind. For 2007, the GX adds something much appreciated in impossibly gridlocked areas like New York's Long Island Expressway or Southern California's I-5. It now qualifies for high occupancy travel lanes with only the driver on board.

As going "green" grows in popularity among the earth- and trend-conscious, there could be imitators in the future. The GX offers better fuel economy (about 30/40 city/highway) than internal combustion vehicles and almost non-existent polluting emissions. That's great for congested city traffic, where the GX rules and can take advantage of the FuelMaker's Phill home filling system that pumps in compressed natural gas overnight at about a third less cost than gasoline. (Honda owns about 20 percent of FuelMaker.) That would forever eliminate stops at gas stations. Think of the GX for local commuting. However, searching for refueling stations on a long trip could be a challenge. Because of the onboard tank that feeds the 1.8-liter inline 4 engine, it won't hold much luggage either. But many base amenities on a regular Civic are present, including standard airbags, four-wheel ABS and five-star crash rating, plus a five-speed auto trans.

If you don't mind a few year's payback time on fuel savings (although there's a $4,000 tax break for 2007), the $25,000 base price and a rather weird fueling hose, then you'll likely let your conscience do the driving.