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An Architect's View

New Green Car!

August 1, 2008 ·

This morning I just took delivery of my new car - my new very green car:

It's a 2008 Honda Civic GX in Green Tea Metallic. As you can see from the image above, it runs on compressed natural gas. There are quite a few CNG stations around the Bay Area but we plan to buy a "Phill" - a home refueling station that connects to our home gas line so that we can fill up for about $1.25 per gallon!

Tags: personal

26 responses

  • 1 David // Aug 1, 2008 at 8:59 AM

    Woah - you can get a home station if you have natural gas? How much does that cost? Would it be practical to top you every night when you get home?


  • 2 Bim // Aug 1, 2008 at 9:04 AM

    Congrats on the new car purchase! What kind of mileage do you get?
  • 3 Scott P // Aug 1, 2008 at 9:16 AM

    cool - I had a couple of questions but the google had answers. Looking forward to reading about your experiences with this car.

    A full tank of gas supplies the GX with a driving range of approximately 220250 miles*

    Refueling the GX may take up to 16 hours if the tank is virtually empty. At times like these, you can refuel in mere minutes at the numerous fast-fill compressed natural gas stations throughout California.
  • 4 Yves Arsenault // Aug 1, 2008 at 9:52 AM


    Awesome wheels.
  • 5 Sean Corfield // Aug 1, 2008 at 9:54 AM

    @David, the Phill station costs about $4k plus delivery and installation (so $5,700-6,500 total) and you can get a tax credit for some of it. The car itself also counts for some tax credits.

    Here's a picture of Phill:

    The AT-PZEV rating means you get free parking in some places and access to HOV lanes even when you're on your own.
  • 6 Sean Corfield // Aug 1, 2008 at 9:55 AM

    @Bim, @Scott, the EPA MPG rating is 24 city / 36 highway, much like the regular gasoline Civic but it's an "equivalent" rating since you don't actually have "gallons" of gas :)
  • 7 Doug // Aug 1, 2008 at 10:20 AM

    Congrats, am "green" with envy.
  • 8 Steve Withington // Aug 1, 2008 at 11:46 AM

    Too bad I can't buy one of these in Illinois. :(
  • 9 Thomas Case // Aug 1, 2008 at 11:53 AM

    Congratulations Sean!
    It is too bad that some of Honda's vehicles aren't available in other parts of the country, however. In the Seattle area, the GX doesn't appear to be available yet. It is the same with Honda's new Fuel-Cell vehicle, which is only available in Southern California.

    I currently have a 2006 Civic Hybrid, though, which does quite nice. It averages between 40-42 mpg in normal driving, and can get high-40's on extended driving.
  • 10 Sean Corfield // Aug 1, 2008 at 12:15 PM

    @Steve, @Thomas, yes, the availability of CNG infrastructure is very much the limiting factor here. Eventually I'm sure we'll see more widespread uptake of all sorts of alternative fuel technologies.

    BTW, our other car is a Toyota Prius - now three years old with 64,000 miles on the clock and we still love it. We get 45-50mpg fairly consistently and it has a big enough carrying capacity for long-distance cat shows! The Honda is very much a commuting-around-the-Bay car for us.
  • 11 Jeremy Prevost // Aug 1, 2008 at 12:27 PM

    @ScottP. I think you forgot a hyphen (or it didn't copy/paste) as the range is 220 to 250 miles per tank not 220250.
  • 12 Sam Farmer // Aug 1, 2008 at 1:46 PM

    Very cool!

    Did you consider at the Civic Hybrid as well? Drove one as a rental last summer in Cali and it was a very nice car.
  • 13 Sean Corfield // Aug 1, 2008 at 2:09 PM

    @Jeremy, the copy/paste shows a weird graphic character for me (which looks like 00/13). I wonder what character set Honda used on their website?

    @Sam, we test drove a Civic and liked it but the Prius has much more cargo space (and gets better gas mileage) which is why we bought that. This time around we wanted something even more "green" so it would have been the Hydrogen car if they were more widely available (if we lived in LA near the "beta" lease facility we might have considered it).

    The yellow HOV access stickers for hybrids have already gone (the 85,000 allocation disappeared just after we got our Prius, before we managed to get stickers - boo!) but silver HOV access stickers for alternative fuel vehicles are, apparently, still around. Another reason to favor the NGV this time.
  • 14 Tyler Fitch // Aug 1, 2008 at 4:36 PM

    I think it's interesting they don't offer the Navigation System as a factory option. And Civic's don't offer Bluetooth like your Prius does. But you can get a Garmin unit that does Bluetooth and Navigation for less than Honda charge's for a factory Nav System, so there's a pretty easy and economical work around there.
  • 15 Sean Corfield // Aug 1, 2008 at 6:10 PM

    @Tyler, yup, I've "inherited" my wife's Jawbone to use in the car (she can use the Bluetooth in the Prius). I'm not going to be taking the Civic anywhere "unknown" (which we do all the time with the Prius).

    But! I have a direct MP3 aux jack in the Civic so I can listen to my iPhone at 160 watts :)

    The Prius doesn't have that luxury which is far more important for my commute.
  • 16 Claude // Aug 1, 2008 at 6:40 PM

    Congratulations on your tiny carbon footprint...

    $25K base for 113 horse power, plus $6K for the refueling station? I don't know man.
  • 17 Sean Corfield // Aug 1, 2008 at 7:09 PM

    @Claude, plus the $4k dealer markup since these cars are in short supply, plus $400 delivery from SoCal plus over $2.5k in taxes plus LoJack and FinalSeal options (together another $1,300). It cost us $33k to get the car here so about $40k with the refueling station.

    We didn't buy it to save money. We didn't buy the Prius to save money either. We bought them both to support the push for greener energy.
  • 18 Luke Kilpatrick // Aug 1, 2008 at 9:24 PM

    Great looking car, I look forward to seeing it next week.
  • 19 Peter Tilbrook // Aug 2, 2008 at 3:48 AM

    Not real keen on the colour - but kudos on going green.
  • 20 Mike Brunt // Aug 2, 2008 at 6:28 AM

    Sean, that's a great commitment you made to a better world for us all to live in, thanks for that. Ever since I moved here I have been the nobody that walks in LA "Only a nobody walks in LA" song from missing persons. So my commitment has been to walk everywhere that I can and I would bike ride further everywhere I can except there are many unsafe areas here. What continues to amaze me is the lack of telecommuting in our world because that to me in the ultimate green weapon in our armory.
  • 21 Daniel D // Aug 4, 2008 at 5:10 AM

    One other benefit of CNG is the engine should last a long long long time. CNG burns so clean you don't have much if any carbon build up. Your oil should not turn black even with extended times between oil changes. My grandfather ran most of his farm equipment and trucks on CNG or Propain and got incredible life out of the engienes. Congrats Sean. wish we had that option here in DC. We love our Prius though. :-)
  • 22 Sean Corfield // Aug 4, 2008 at 7:11 AM

    @Daniel, interesting point. I hadn't considered that. I noticed the Civic has a display of "oil life" which I'd not seen on a car before (and of course it says 100% :) I haven't yet looked at the service schedule for the car so I'll keep an eye on what they say for oil changes.
  • 23 Lola LB // Aug 4, 2008 at 11:28 AM

    Can a blue collar, working class family with 4 pre-college kids afford to buy a car like this?
  • 24 Sean Corfield // Aug 4, 2008 at 12:12 PM

    @Lola, not until the government tips the scales to make it more affordable to build the infrastructure and buy and run the cars. In Europe, they artificially adjusted the price of gasoline vs diesel (via taxation) to "encourage" ownership of more fuel efficient vehicles. The US would have to do a lot more than it does today to provide that level of "encouragement"...
  • 25 David // Aug 4, 2008 at 12:32 PM

    Back in the late 1980's, early 1990's, a "a blue collar, working class family with 4 pre-college kids" wouldn't have been able to afford a PC.

    Newer Technology like this isn't affordable to everyone, at first, but the hope is that with time, greater adoption and a streamlined manufacturing process the prices can come down.


  • 26 RobG // Aug 11, 2008 at 1:56 PM

    Congrats on the car! I've always liked the new Civics, they're very sharp. I just got a new car recently, but the need for AWD kept me away from the super-high-mileage cars (including my first choice, a VW TDI), so I got a new WRX. I wouldn't mind trying to do a CNG conversion to it though...

    The car I'm really wanting to see more of here in the Bay Area is the Honda FCX, but I hear it's only an LA-thing for now. That's the hydrogen-powered car for those of you in Rio Linda... :)