Archive for November, 2011

The Los Angeles Auto Show features a little side competition: the Green Car of the Year. Each year multiple powertrains are introduced in an attempt to take the coveted title. This year the Honda Civic NG took the honor.
 
That is not to say there was not a strong field of competitors. The Civic NG faced the Ford Focus Electric, Toyota Prius V, Volkswagen Passat TDI, and Mitsubishi’s i vehicle. ”There is no other vehicle like the Civic Natural Gas on American highways, and this recognition has been a long time coming for Honda,” said Ron Cogan, editor and publisher of Green Car Journal and editor of GreenCar.com.

  • The Honda NG has been around since 1998, but has been one of the best-kept secret of the green car set. This is the fifth generation and it features better fuel efficiency: 27 city, 38 highway. The NG can travel about 240 miles on a tank of natural gas, giving it a much greater range than all-electric vehicles.
  • The Civic NG is the only mass produced CNG passenger model for sale in the United States. The main challenge to the vehicle is the availability of filling stations.
  • The Civic NG is more expensive than its gasoline counterpart, starting at $26,155. The extra cost can be recouped when you fill up since compressed natural gas costs less than gasoline. An added bonus is that CNG burns cleaner.

For more information, visit Honda Civic Insurance.

Since his retirement, Norman Mineta, the longest serving U.S. Transportation Secretary in history, is urging a more common sense approach to allocating public funds as they apply to the development of automotive technologies.

He has released a white paper titled ”The Case for Technology Neutral Public Policy in Fuel Economy Debate: Allowing Performance To Determine Solutions” in which he asks that the government adopt a technology-neutral approach and allow mass-market adoption decide where funds should be allocated.

The paper makes many points, but one of the highlights is that high-efficiency gasoline and diesel engines are within 15 percent of the performance of EVs and hybrids and that these vehicles are the most effective way to lower emissions in the short and mid-term. He goes on to point out that the Obama administration’s preference for battery-assisted vehicles is siphoning needed money away from potentially better solutions.

While it makes sense to spread funds around for research, most administrations have put all of their eggs in one basket, so it is easy to see that the paper may have been published in vain.