In order to sweeten the deal for buyers of its compressed natural gas (CNG)-powered Honda Civic, the company will offer a $3,000 gas card in some U.S. states. The card will be accepted by public refueling stations owned by Clean Energy Fuels Corporation.
The Civic CNG is the only car available to U.S. buyers to use the cheaper fuel and the promotion started on Tuesday, October 9. The national average price of a gallon of CNG was $2.05 in July, which is nearly half the price of a gallon of gasoline, depending on the state.
The Civic Natural Gas is priced from $26,305, or over $10,000 more than the base Civic sedan that runs on gasoline. The only cost savings will come from the cheaper fuel, as the Natural Gas car is rated at 27/38mpg on the city/highway compared to 28/39mpg for the regular sedan. Californians will get the added benefit of being able to use the Civic Natural Gas in the carpool lanes in their state. They will need to stop at refueling stations more often, however, as the Natural Gas car has a range of just about 200 miles.
Sales of the CNG Civic may be higher compared to last year, but Honda only managed to sell 1,576 vehicles in the first nine months of 2012. In comparison, it sold 234,029 Civics in the same period, while Nissan managed to move over 5,200 of its electric-only Leaf hatchback.
The $3,000 fuel card promotion runs until January 2, 2013, and is limited by the nearly 1,500 Civic CNGs currently in the carmaker's inventory. American Honda, Clean Energy, and the respective Honda dealership will each contribute $1,000 to the gas debit card.