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Tilting at Windmills

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March 11, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

NATURAL GAS CARS: A REPORT FROM THE FIELD....Ann Salisbury, who has given up her blog for a real life, emails to extol the virtues of alternative fuel driving:

My CNG powered Honda Civic was delivered last week and I picked it up on Saturday. In the few days that I've had it, I can say that I really like it. There are the obvious reasons: less air pollution, no reliance on petroleum, and solo use of the car pool lane. An extra special bonus is that I'm currently paying only $1.64 or $1.79 (depending on who owns the station) for the equivalent of one gallon of petrol. The downsides are fewer gas stations and needing to fuel up a little more often (about 1.5 round trips to/from work vs. 2 round trips in the VW). Fortunately, there are several gas stations on my way to and from work.

The other bonus I just discovered? CNG is primarily (90%) methane, so not only can you tap natural gas reserves to obtain it, methane is a by-product of landfills and water and sewage treatment. Call me crazy, but doesn't that seem to be pretty ideal for areas with an expanding population? Take our castoff and recycle it into clean burning power. Seems pretty good to me.

And there's more! Here's a followup email:

I forgot to mention a couple of things. One, the State of California gave me a $3,000 rebate for buying the car. The feds will allow me a $4,500 deduction this year (the difference between a Civic LX and the GX). A Canadian company is developing a product that will allow home fueling from your home gas line. It will fill the tank slower than the pumps at the CNG stations, but it will be more convenient.

If you're interested in joining Ann and Arnold (who claims he is planning to convert his Hummer to natural gas), here are a few links: federal and state incentives, alternative fuels FAQs, and a fuel station locator (which may be a bit out of date).

Kevin Drum 11:59 AM Permalink | Trackbacks

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