Los Angeles Mayor Anotonio Villaraigosa with the 2012 Honda Civic Natural… (Allen J. Schaben, Los Angeles…)
The Honda Civic Natural Gas won the 2012 Green Car of the Year award at the L.A. Auto Show Thursday. The car is the cleanest-running internal combustion vehicle certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, with a 48 MPGe highway fuel economy rating.
"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 the Green Car Journal, which issues the annual award. "The new-generation Civic Natural Gas features greater fuel efficiency, a handsome and roomier new design and tailpipe emissions levels untouchable by any other internal combustion production vehicle."
According to the Green Car Journal, natural gas is a clean fuel that is almost exclusively domestically sourced and is typically priced 30% less than gasoline. It also fast fills in about five minutes at the fueling stations that offer natural gas dispensers.
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The Civic Natural Gas is the only natural gas passenger vehicle to be mass produced. First introduced as a fleet vehicle in 1998, the 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas is in its fifth generation. Priced at $26,155, it's available at 200 Honda dealers in 36 states.
The six-judge panel on the Green Car of the Year jury selected the Civic Natural Gas from a field of five contenders, including the Ford Focus Electric, Mitsubishi i, Toyota Prius V and Volkswagen Passat TDI. Jury members included Carl Pope, chairman of the Sierra Club; Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council; and Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of the Ocean Futures Society, among others.
"This year's Green Car of the Year finalists underscore that there is no single solution to our transportation challenges," Cogan said. "Virtually every automotive manufacturer is exploring green technology in several forms."