It's A Gas: Ecofriendly LLC Develops Home Natural Gas Pump

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2010 Honda Civic GX natural-gas vehicle, Los Angeles, November 2010

2010 Honda Civic GX natural-gas vehicle, Los Angeles, November 2010

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Natural gas vehicles aren't particularly common on U.S. roads, and with relatively cheap and plentiful gasoline, it's fairly clear why. Pumps are few and far between and only the 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas gives private buyers an option over gasoline or diesel.

If you had the chance to fill at home instead of hunting down a suitable pump, you might be more tempted. Ecofriendly LLC, run by Paul Gianakas, gives you just such an option.

Ecofriendly installs natural gas fueling stations at homes and businesses. The system compresses natural gas from your home's service line into the CNG that natural gas vehicles use. The unit has a leak detector to ensure it immediately shuts down as a safety measure.

Speaking with the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Mr Gianakas revealed he believes in the technology so much that he sold his classic El Camino and Mustang to fund the business startup and now has one of his own pumps in his garage, ready to fill his Honda Civic GX.

It's also proving cheap to run. The gas is costing him about $1.15 per "gasoline gallon equivalent", and with prices knocking on the door of $4 per gallon, the home-filling looks more tempting than ever. And as electric car owners will tell you, there's a certain smugness to driving straight past every gas station.

The grass isn't completely green on the other side, though. Initial costs are high - a home pump from Ecofriendly costs between $5,000 and $7,000, so you'd have to do a lot of miles before the savings are recouped.

Then, if you want to convert your current car rather than settle for the $26,905 Civic, professional conversion can cost as much as $12,000 before any applicable government tax credits.

As for Paul Gianakas and his business partner Bob Alvin, they expect Ecofriendly to turn a profit by the end of the year, but Mr Gianakas thinks that an increase in the number of regular pumps at gas stations will help improve the market for CNG cars and for his home-filling stations.

Most natural gas for transport is still used commercially in buses and vans, but if you're interested in natural gas cars then the 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas is out soon. We've driven its predecessor, the Honda Civic GX. If you didn't already know it was a natural gas-powered vehicle, you'd not know otherwise.

Would you have a CNG pump in your garage? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Comments (9)
  1. If you believe the EPA, both the Honda Civic Natural Gas and the Honda Civic hybrid cost $1100 per year to fuel. Oh, and the hybrid produces less CO2 emissions.

    Looks like the previous "Phill Station" technology that did the same thing has gone out of business.

  2. The maker of PHILL is still in business and it is available on the market. I bought a new one three months ago and I enjoy my home refueling.

  3. @John B. I'm not questioning you at all but the EPA numbers don't seem to make sense; if CNG is as cheap as I've seen. If the cost is a third of gasoline and mileage is down by a much lower multiple (is it 40% reduction? I need to confirm...), then there should be savings. Not necessarily if you include the home pump, but it just seems wrong on the math. I'm sure I'm missing something basic, though.
    I've heard both claims on emissions, higher or equivalent, so I'm just not sure there... Can anyone elaborate on emissions?

  4. EPA annual fuel cost is simply wrong and requires them to adjust annual fuel cost to the price of the fuel. Gasoline = up, CNG = down. As for fuel economy, ask yourself: What is the gasoline fuel economy of a dedicated natural gas vehicle? Kind of telling isn't it. So I'll take a Civic GX with 250 mile range, 5 minute refueling time, zero dependance on oil, $2.00 per galon fuel cost and squeaky clean tailpipe emissions every day. So what if the CO2 is "only" 25% less? I'll just telecommute one day a week and cut my CO2 footprint another 25%!

  5. Sorry but the EPA method seems very straight forward. It puts the fuel cost of the Civic hybrid at $1168 and the CNG at $1108 so basically the same. The Civic hybrid is 4.3 tons of CO2/year with the CNG at 5.6 or 30% worse for the CNG. Add to that the lost of trunk space and all the CNG has going for it is domestically supplied fuel.

  6. My problem with using natural gas for automobile use is that as it us increases so does its cost. That will not only run the cost to drive your NG vehicle, but to use NG for home use. I like the idea of using NG for 18-wheeler truck fleets, but am very cool to the use of it in "personal" transportation because of the reason stated above.

  7. Bare in mind that there is an excess in Natural Gas in this country and they are currently reworking the LNG terminals to allow exporting of NG to Europe where prices are higher.

  8. I like CNG since it seems relatively low cost and reduces local pollution. Certainly makes a lot more sense than hydrogen.

    Regarding the home fill, though. How much electricity does that compressor use? How far could one drive a plug-in on that?

  9. I have 2 autos with cng/gasoline bio. our cost is 79 cents per gal in ok (fusion and f150) i put 8k on my truck per month saving aprox 2500 in fuel cost every 15 k driven. power is the same fuel milage is the same as the gasoline very impressed. in OK we have stations everywhere and building more

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