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.

GX
$25,860
- $4,000 (Federal tax credit)
- $3,415 (OK tax credit)
= $18,345

LX
$18,925

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:

GX
$25,360
-$7,415
= $17,945

LX
$17,429

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 Naturaldrive.com. 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....