Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Compare the Honda Civic GX to the hybrid Civic

Why buy the CNG fueled Civic GX instead of the hybrid Civic?  Because after the Oklahoma and federal tax credits, the CNG GX is thousands cheaper and the fuel costs are cheaper than the hybrid Civic also.

Here's a link that compares the GX to the gasoline powered LX and the gasoline powered Civic.

  • 2010 Hybrid Civic:  $26,510 - $0 tax credit = $26,510
  • 2010 Civic GX: $26,050 - $4,000 fed credit - $3,450 OK credit = $18,600
  • 2010 Civic LX: $19,715 - $0 tax credit = $19,715
Frankly, I don't know how one could justify the purchase of a hybrid Civic over a Civic LX; much less a Civic GX.

Regarding fuel costs, the hybrid Civic gets an average of 42 mpg vs the GX's 28 mpgge.  That's a 50% increase in fuel efficiency.  However, the gasoline price per gallon for the hybrid Civic is 100% higher than the CNG fuel per gallon of gas equivalent for the Civic GX...  So the Civic GX is thousands of dollars cheaper to purchase than the hybrid Civic and is much cheaper to fuel than the hybrid Civic.

Mayor Bloomberg calls it like it is on "Meet the Press"

The mayor of NYC was on "Meet the Press" this past Sunday.   Unfortunately, the rest of the group didn't pick up on the Mayor's comment - they preferred to keep talking about how everyone "feels"....
Mayor Bloomberg: [I]t is the battle on the battlefield, but it’s also the battle on the economic field. And what’s missing here is a discussion, believe it or not, of the environment. And it has nothing to do with global warming down the road, it is today.
    We are transferring our wealth to countries around the world who don’t agree with us and, in many cases, are funding the very terrorists that we’re sending our young men and women out to fight. And sometimes they don’t come back or they don’t come back alive.
    We can’t keep doing this. We’ve got to get, somehow or other, energy independence. And so regardless of whether you’re a greenie or not, the bottom line is we cannot keep funding our enemies.

Full transcript here.

America can shift a major portion of its transportation fuel from imported petroleum to domestically supplied natural gas NOW.  This would cut America's funding of other countries and would improve our environment here.  I know this is possible because I prove it everyday I drive the Honda Civic GX.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Grocery-getting test for the GX

Will all these groceries fit in the small trunk of the Honda Civic GX (because the CNG tank takes up half the trunk)?

Well, the burgers, bacon, cereal, Dr. Pepper (white and purple label), taters, hams, chorizo, light bulbs, car wax, & salsa fit!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Gas could be the calvary in keeping America financially solvent!

Quoting from this widely distributed AP article - "Gas could be the calvary in global warming fight":
An unlikely source of energy has emerged to meet international demands that the United States do more to fight global warming: It's cleaner than coal, cheaper than oil and a 90-year supply is under our feet.
It's natural gas, the same fossil fuel that was in such short supply a decade ago that it was deemed unreliable. It's now being uncovered at such a rapid pace that its price is near a seven-year low. Long used to heat half the nation's homes, it's becoming the fuel of choice when building new power plants. Someday, it may win wider acceptance as a replacement for gasoline in our cars and trucks.
Someday?  It just replaced the gasoline consumption of my Mazda3 when I bought the Honda Civic GX.  The natural gas producer executives keep looking to incremental gas consumption to generate electricity instead of coal fuel - seems they don't believe that the American consumer will switch to a cheaper fuel for their transportation.  Coal is not the enemy - OIL IS!  We don't import coal in America, we import OIL.  Oil consumption is the fuel that needs to be replaced, not coal. 

And it's so easy to do - the Honda Civic GX cost $400 less than the comparable LX (after federal & Oklahoma tax credits) and thousands less than the hybrid Civic.  My fuel cost? Less than 4 cents/mile. - Craig

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Fueling up my Honda Civic GX around Tulsa

Here's a short video of my fillup at TGT's 51st & Mingo location:

See all the CNG filling locations at

Almost to a 1,000 miles on the Civic GX - I'm loving this car so far.  Mark Sprowls at Joe Marina Honda said he's got two cars available if you want to buy one before the end of the year so you can get the tax credits on your 2009 tax return.  - Craig

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tracking the cost of the Honda Civic GX fuel

I've started a mileage log in Google Docs. The first thing I noticed is that since the ONG station only supplies 3,000 psig gas and the TGT station supplies 3,600 psig (which is about 20% difference in capacity), my gas mileage from fill to fill will vary quite a bit. So it's the average mileage over several fills that is useful.

The only disappointment with the car so far has been that I could not drive it to Terrell, TX because there are no filling stations along the Indian Nation Turnpike...

Here's the link to the whole gas mileage tracking spreadsheet.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Why I bought a CNG fueled vehicle

  1. Fuel costs is <$1.50 per gallon equivalent now, while gasoline is >$2.40/gallon.  Futures of crude oil and natural gas indicate that this price disparity will continue for years.  The natural gas price runup to $14/Dth in 2008 caused producers to find enormous natural gas supplies in the Fayetteville, Marcellus, Haynesville, Eagle Ford, and other shale plays.  The increase in natural gas reserves is huge and the recognition of this supply is reflected in the natural gas futures price.
  2. Abundance of domestic natural gas - What happens if everyone buys a CNG fueled vehicle?  If 50% of the 27 quadrillon Btu's consumed in the US transportation sector were converted to CNG, it would increase the natural gas consumption by 60%.  Given the large domestic natural gas supply and existing distribution infrastructure, this seems feasible - at the price point of current futures.
  3. Federal and Oklahoma income tax credits fully fund the incremental cost of the Honda Civic GX over the gasoline powered equivalent Civic LX ($6,900). Note this is a "credit", not a "deduction".
  4. Sufficent number of CNG fueling locations for nearly all my travels (see  Given previously stated advantages and the cleaner burning qualities and lower greenhouse gas emissions of CNG, I'm expecting adoption of CNG fueled vehicles to accelerate, which will drive construction of even more CNG fueling dispensers.  Since the natural gas distribution system is already in place, all that is required to setup a new fueling station is a natural gas compressor system, which can be substantially funded with federal and state tax incentives.
  5. CNG technology is here now; batteries to fuel electric or plug-in hybrids are still in development.  Even when available, the Chevy Volt's batteries will weigh about 400 pounds and contain the equivalent energy of a gallon of gasoline.  I think batteries could eventually be a good alternative - they would achieve the objective of switching the US transportation fuel from foreign energy supplies to domestic (wind, coal, natural gas, nuclear, hydro, solar, etc.).
  6. A CNG fuel tank in the trunk is safer than hauling around gasoline in a plastic tub.  Watch these videos of intentional CNG distress (Drop the car video, Dynamite video, Gun video), then ponder these questions about gasoline:
    1. Why are water heaters that are located adjacent to or in garages elevated?
    2. Why is use of a cell phone while refueling with gasoline prohibited? (see this advisory)
    3. In a car crash, where does most of the gasoline end up?
    4. Would anyone consider plumbing their house with gasoline?
Other sources:

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Now a proud owner of a 2010 Honda Civic GX

Finally did it. I purchased a 2010 Honda Civic GX from Joe Marina Honda on Friday. - Craig

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Headed to work

Love my Mazda3! (Many folks mistakenly think that my vehicle is a camel, so don’t feel alone.)


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Still trying to buy a car....

Test drove the 2008 Impala that Tulsa Gas Technologies has for sale. Great car with lots of power, but the federal credit is only $2,500 versus $4,000 for the Honda Civic GX. So, then I had a lead on a GX from California, but that deal fell through.

I'm still committed - just trying to get the right deal!! Meanwhile, the natural gas bills are in Congress still, Impco says they will be distributing the home fueling system sometime in the first quarter of 2010. - Craig

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Getting impatient....

Despite all the good press and PR from key members of Congress, House Bill 1835 and Senate Bill 1408 remain in committee....

A fueling appliance is still not available for my house.... (but there is hope that it will be someday...)

But Tom at Tulsa Gas Technologies is still converting Chevy vehicles and opening his own retail CNG filling station and Mark at Joe Marina Honda is still marketing the Honda Civic GX.

Test driving a 2008 Chevy Impala converted to CNG by Tulsa Gas Tech using Natural Drive's conversion.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Fuelmaker purchased by FSS

Additional insight at in their FuelMaker Refugee Forum. The feedback so far is positive.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Added HB 1835 tracker to blog sidebar

This bill, if passed, would modify the current CNG incentives so significantly that I must wait for its demise or passage before pursuing purchasing a CNG vehicle. The most attractive item to me is the possibility of obtaining a federal tax credit for a bi-fuel vehicle instead of just a dedicated one (as the current IRS rule reads).

Another recent development is the bankruptcy of the company that manufactures the device used to fuel your CNG vehicle at your house. There's a forum at called "Fuelmaker Refugee Forum".

Friday, April 3, 2009

New federal bill introduced - increases Fed tax credit

Well, I guess I'll wait and see what happens with this legislation before making a CNG vehicle purchase. With the current 50% Oklahoma tax credit and the $4,000 federal tax credit (potentially reduced by AMT), it would still cost me about $3,000 to convert a vehicle to CNG and it would not be a bi-fuel vehicle. Appears that the proposed legislation would allow federal tax credits for bi-fuel, and would increase the dedicated CNG conversion tax credit to the point that the CNG conversion would be free to me!

Here's a link to an article in Platt's. The bill is New Alternative Transportation to Give Americans Solutions Act (HR 1835) - google it for more info.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Perspective on the US natural gas supply & demand from Bentek

Follow this link to view a presentation (*.pdf) by Bentek, an analysis company that tracks natural gas supply/demand trends. The presentation reviews the current state of US natural gas supply and demand - ending with following conclusions:
  • 2008 belied the notion that the US is running out of natural gas.
  • The US is long supply; prices will continue to fall.
  • Regional pipeline constraints exacerbate the bear trend.
  • REX East will have limited impact on Rockies prices – it is already full.
  • SE Supply Area gas will keep CA prices stable.
  • Exploration activity must fall by over 20% in the Rockies and the Gulf for production to fit within capacity.
  • Additional capacity will be needed in the Rockies, Gulf and Appalachia, but before new capacity can be profitable, demand must grow significantly .
  • Constraints will set the minimum and maximum price for gas.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

More CNG vehicle options - F-150 & Focus

Found more CNG options at Jim Norton Ford in Broken Arrow - 2009 F-150 and the 2009 Focus. After the federal and state income tax credits, the Focus cost $1,700 to convert to dedicated natural gas with a 9 gge tank in the trunk (similar to Honda Civic GX). Can choose any Focus to convert, including those with standard transmissions (which is not possible with the Civic GX). Could also keep the Focus as a bi-fuel, but that would cause the $4,000 federal tax credit to be lost...

The F-150 is a very attractive option - I'm narrowing in on the SuperCrew cab with a 5.5 foot bed. Jim Norton would install a 21 gge Lincoln Composite tank in the bed and cover the entire bed with a fiberglass tonneau. For an additional $3,500, they will add a 9 gge steel tank where the gas tank was. This would give the F-150 a range over 500 miles! The conversion cost after tax credits would be about $3,000 for the 21 gge; $4,750 for the 30 gge.

Doing some payback math on the 21 gge conversion - at today's gasoline price ($1.60) & CNG price ($1.00) and 18 mpg, breakeven would occur at 90,000 miles. If the CNG price drops to $0.80, then breakeven at 67,000 miles and at a CNG price of $0.60, then breakeven at 55,000 miles.

Next step is to meet with the CNG conversion manager at Jim Norton Ford to understand more of the technical details of the conversion. The regulator is installed under the hood, rather than under the car as in the Impala. The conversion kit is by Ecofuel from Canada. This is the 2009 F-150 that is being tested right now.

It's too bad that the feds won't allow the fed tax credit on a bi-fuel vehicle. That would greatly assist the adoption of CNG in the US. I drove a bi-fuel F-250 - it switches on the fly between gasoline and CNG. Sweet, but you lose the $4,000 credit...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Comparing a Honda GX (CNG) to a LX (gasoline)

Doing some math with MSRP’s and destination charge ($670) on the Honda Civic GX and LX.

- $4,000 (Federal tax credit)
- $3,415 (OK tax credit)
= $18,345


So the GX is about $600 cheaper than the LX after tax credits on an MSRP basis.

Edmund’s TMV shows that the LX is selling for 92% of MSRP while the GX is selling at 98% of MSRP:

= $17,945


So the GX is about $500 higher than the LX after tax credits on an Edmund’s TMV basis.

As far as the feature difference between an LX and a GX – no back speakers, 113 hp instead of 140 hp, 15” wheels instead of 16”, and a smaller trunk with no pass thru capability, and finally, a range of 200 mi instead of 350 miles.

But with the GX, you save $0.60/gallon. At 15,000 miles/year and 30 mpg, that’s $300 annually.

So the tradeoff is $300/year savings with less hp, smaller trunk, and more fillups at hard to find stations.

I can see why the CNG vehicles are most suitable for home-based fleet applications. That application increases the savings per year because the annual mileage is higher and the fillups are easy.

Increased range is the reason that I’m looking at the Impala conversion with I will be able to use the CNG car in lieu of our 04 Honda Pilot for trips to Branson (with a fillup in Miami) and Neosho (w/o a fillup) and McPherson, KS (w/ a fillup in Ponca City) and maybe.... Taos. :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Visit with Tom Sewell of Tulsa Gas Tech today

Met with Tom today for the first time. Tom is the owner of Tulsa Gas Technologies that has been in the CNG biz for many years, mainly as a supplier of CNG tank filling equipment. He has recently started installing Natural Drive conversions in 2008 Impalas. See the pics to view an Impala that is currently being converted in his shop.

This conversion differs slightly from the current Natural Drive conversion in that two larger tanks were used in the trunk instead of four smaller diameter tanks. The high pressure regulator is under the car with one additional tank. The tank and regulator under the car were placed in the area where the original gasoline tank was located and will be protected by a custom made shield. The original stainless steel fuel lines were used. The injectors and fuel rail are replaced.

Click here to view a CNGchat session discussing the EPA certification process for the 2008 Impala.

Where can I go in a dedicated CNG car from Tulsa?

Range of a Honda Civic GX: ~200 miles.
Range of a 2008 Impala with Natural Drive conversion: ~375 miles.
  • Branson, MO - 280 mile roundtrip from Miami, OK - YEP
  • Shreveport, LA - 615 mile roundtrip from Okmulgee, OK - NOPE
  • Oklahoma City, OK - fuel at Stroud, OK and in Oklahoma City - YEP
  • Neosho, MO - 240 mile roundtrip - YEP
  • McPherson, KS - 290 mile roundtrip from Ponca City, OK - YEP
  • Taos, NM - 380 mile one-way from Elk City, OK to Las Vegas, NM - MAYBE, but I better start praying as I pass through Santa Rosa, NM.
I'm learning that the range of a CNG vehicle varies by how much gas mass is in the CNG tank. The amount of mass depends on the temperature and pressure of the stored gas. While most CNG tanks can hold 3,600 psig, a lot of the filling station equipment only supplies 3,000 psig. More later....