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Honda, which is currently the only manufacturer in the United States selling a dedicated compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicle, might see a significant spike in demand for the Civic GX model. The reason? Honda has announced that the Civic Natural Gas will qualify for the White Clean Air Vehicle decals in California, which will allow access to the HOV lane through January 2015. Those who had Yellow Clean Air Vehicle decals (including the ever-popular Prius) had them expire earlier this month on July 1st, 2011.
The HOV decals have been influential towards the purchases of more fuel-efficient vehicles in California, with solo driver access to the HOV lane. With traffic as bad as it is in Southern California, used cars with yellow decals were even sold at a premium. Now Honda’s Civic GX will retain that luxury all the way through 2015.
Honda’s 2012 Civic CNG has a fuel economy rating of 27/38/31 for city, highway and combined respectively. The CNG includes Honda’s ECO Assist technology and Honda claims owning a CNG is about 30-percent less in cost than a traditional gasoline cost.
Honda has also announced that sales for the CNG have tripled for the first half of the year compared to the same period last year.
Get back into traffic with the rest of us, electric vehicles… your time is up. If you’re in California and drive a hybrid, today is the day your six-year privilege to the HOV lane expires.
About 85,000 hybrid vehicle owners have to share the regular highway lanes, as the yellow sticker that gave them access to the dedicated HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle) lanes expires today (July 1, 2011). They’ve had a great six-year run of leaving other non-electric vehicles behind, but all good things must come to an end.
When these yellow stickers were being issued, only three hybrid vehicles qualified – the Toyota Prius, Honda Insight and Honda Civic Hybrid. If you get caught driving by yourself in the HOV lanes tomorrow, prepare to pay some big fines – and don’t expect all those people who you’ve been passing for the past six years to feel sorry for you.
Hybrid cars are a huge hit in California and for a number of reasons. The first reason you might think of is the that citizens of the fine state are concerned about the environment. And while that might be true, there’s also a more self-serving reason, namely, that the California DMV issues 85,000 “Clean Air Vehicle” stickers to hybrid cars owners allowing them to drive in the HOV (high occupancy vehicle) or carpool lanes.
According to spokesman Steve Haskins, the DMV has now received as many request as it can fill and so no more passes will be given out.
As a result, those looking to purchase a hybrid like the Toyota Prius or Honda Insight to avoid rush hour chaos are now out of luck.
Instead those folks will now be heading over to Nissan to pick up a Leaf, as a new California Bill allows EVs and cars running on compressed natural gas to drive in the carpool lanes – at lest until 2015.
[Photo Credit: EVNut]