Drivers fed up with sky-high gasoline prices have another option as of late October. The 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas, which runs on compressed natural gas, is now available in 37 states (Honda’s previous natural-gas offering, the Civic GX, was available in just four states). Jimmy Spaulding of Charlotte, N.C., has been banking the savings from driving a GX since 2008. Back then, he was paying $85 a week to gas up his Toyota Tundra. Now he pays $70 or less per month to fill up at a local station—about $1.65 per gasoline-gallon equivalent of compressed natural gas (CNG). “It was a leap of faith,” says Spaulding, who hasn’t looked back since.
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The redesigned Civic Natural Gas, with a starting price of about $26,000, boosts fuel economy to 27 miles per CNG “gallon” in the city and 38 on the highway. You can also get satellite-linked navigation to guide you to nearby CNG stations (find stations). If there isn’t a station nearby, and you have natural gas at home, you could fill up there. But even with tax incentives, installing a compressor runs thousands of dollars, and fueling is a slow process. With nearly zero smog-forming emissions, the Civic Natural Gas is the cleanest internal-combustion vehicle certified by the Environmental Protection Agency.