By: Duane Blankenship | Category: Automotive | Issue: December 2010
Mark Sprowls of Joe Marina Honda invites you to come in to see and drive the Civic GX, Honda’s best-kept secret.
According to Mark Sprowls, sales consultant at Joe Marina Honda, the Honda Civic GX just might be Honda’s best-kept secret. The vehicle is a dedicated CNG (compressed natural gas) vehicle, meaning it runs on natural gas rather than gasoline.
Joe Marina Honda has operated in the Tulsa metropolitan area for what seems like forever. They have built the highly successful automotive dealership with a reputation for fine Honda products and exemplary service to customers.
Honda chose the popular Civic as its first natural gas vehicle due to its attractive cost and high fuel efficiency. According to Sprowls, the Honda Civic GX ensures 100 percent operation on clean-burning natural gas, making it the cleanest internal combustion engine in the world. Yes, this vehicle is very “green.” Engineers of the well-designed Civic GX have succeeded in enhancing performance by optimizing the engine for higher natural gas octane, maximizing emissions reductions, and maximizing “between refills” performance. Although primarily a commuter vehicle, the GX has accomplished “real-world” range for a natural gas vehicle (NGV).
The first Honda Civic CNG vehicle was first introduced in 1998, primarily as a fleet vehicle. Its changeover from gasoline to natural gas has always been a factory conversion. Honda contacted Joe Marina Honda in 1999 to become a full time warranty repair center for Honda natural gas vehicles. Currently, many U.S. states are selling the Civic CNG to fleet operators, but only four states – California, Utah, Oklahoma and New York – are permitted to sell the vehicles in the consumer market.
Basic performance of the Civic CNG is comparable to the gasoline-operated version. It gets approximately 30 to 36 miles per gallon, and a tank of compressed natural gas will run the vehicle for approximately 170 to 180 miles. The tank is made of carbon fiber with a metal liner. Natural gas is considered safer than gasoline, and the CNG vehicle runs smoother, quieter and cleaner than its gas-burning counterpart.
The problem with planning a cross-country trip requires that you accurately research and plot natural gas fueling stations that may or may not be available on your intended route. There are a number of ONG Service Centers in Oklahoma where the vehicles may be refueled, but they are not nearly so propagated as gasoline stations. There are several stations in the Tulsa area. The CNG vehicle owner has the option of installing a compressor and refueling off the natural gas running into their home or business. “The State of Oklahoma is expecting to have 11 new natural gas fueling stations in Oklahoma by the end of the year,” says Sprowls. A list of ONG Service Centers can be found online. “Another plan is to have natural gas fueling stations every 100 miles on major interstate highways, and eventually have them every 50 miles.”
Since CNG vehicles produce no carbon, engines typically last between 300,000 to 400,000 miles, says Sprowls. They also permit driving longer distances between oil changes. The lower cost Honda Civic GX is a “feel good” kind of car. It saves owners money with its low entry cost, fuel economy, and lower natural gas prices. The Honda Civic engine has proven to be very reliable, and the Civic GX meets all federal motor vehicles safety standards. Driver and passenger airbags, side-impact protection and a “smart” logic-controlled in-tank solenoid valve enhance the safety package.
In addition to the Civic GX, Joe Marina Honda sells Hybrid models – the Civic Hybrid Sedan, the Insight, and the sporty CR-Z. Each has a sophisticated gasoline-electric powertrain to help save fuel while still providing plenty of power.
Visit Joe Marina for a test drive and get more facts about the lineup of fuel-efficient Honda automobiles.
Blankenship graduated from the University of Oklahoma and has enjoyed a lifetime career in advertising. He started his own advertising business in 1993 and enjoys creating graphic art and writing. Hobbies include hunting, fishing and pencil drawings. Duane and his wife, Janice, have been married over 50 years and are active in their church and community. He has been a contributing writer for Value News/Values Magazine since 2005.