2012 Honda Civic Natural GasEnlarge Photo
There may only be a handful of natural gas vehicles on sale, but representatives from Colorado and Oklahoma want that to change.
A meeting between politicians from each state and representatives from the automakers in Detroit will meet on Monday to discuss ways in which demand for natural gas vehicles can be increased.
Natural gas (CNG) is considered a more environmentally-friendly fuel than other fossil fuels, and it's currently significantly cheaper than gasoline or diesel.
At the moment, that equates to around $2.13 a gallon, but can be found for as little as $0.80 per gallon in some areas of the country.
Detroit News reports that those low prices are partly down to oversupply and lower demand thanks to a warmer-than-average winter, but the fuel is being touted for its other benefits.
Energy independence is one, as all America's natural gas is sourced from within the country, both in Colorado and Oklahoma, as well as Texas, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Displacing one fossil fuel for another may not be ideal, but reducing foreign energy dependence and creating jobs in the U.S. is certainly preferable.
The talks will also discuss how to improve the CNG infrastructure--currently far smaller than that of gasoline, at fewer than 1,000 stations--and incentivizing CNG vehicles and CNG conversions to make the initial cost more attractive to buyers.
At over $26,000, a 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas with a 1.8-liter, 110-horspower engine currently costs over $10,000 more than the 140-horspower 1.8 Civic DX. That's more even than a 44 mpg Honda Civic Hybrid, at around $24,000.
Texas already incentivizes its natural gas infrastructure, using money generated from gasoline tax to both convert trucks to CNG, and for building natural gas fueling stations on Texas interstates.
Would electric car-like incentives and a greater refueling network convince you to go down the natural gas route? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.