Honda Civic Natural Gas vehicle is on display after it was awarded the Green Car of the Year award on November 17, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The award was presented to Honda by Green Car Journal, which annually selects a single vehicle for its environmental performance. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY
As if paying a little more than $2 a gallon for fuel isn't enough inducement, Honda is throwing $3,000 on the hood of its natural-gas powered Civic sedans.
It will come in the form of a $3,000 debit card good for buying natural gas at the Clean Energy chain of fueling stations.
Honda doesn't sound terribly desperate to sell natural gas-powered Civics here. It's already selling more than it has in the past. And the gas-price shock in California, which has seen gasoline hit $5 at many stations this week, certainly will help sales.
Despite the natural-gas boom in the U.S. -- and resulting drop in price -- Honda remains the only maker producing natural-gas powered sedans. It was named Green Car of the Year by the Green Car Journal. The Civic is made on the same line as the gasoline-powered version in the Midwest.
Honda says natural gas prices vary at Clean Energy stations, but that the price was equal to $2.19 per gallon of gasoline in Anaheim, Calif., this week. That's half the price of a gallon of self-serve regular.
"With gas prices spiking in California, Civic Natural Gas vehicles sales at an all-time high, and the public gaining greater awareness of the benefits of using natural gas, we believe this a great time to launch our fuel card promotion with our partner Clean Energy," said Steve Center, vice president of the American Honda Environmental Business Development Office, in a statement.
The natural-gas giveaway will go a long way to closing the price gap between the natural-gas Civic and its conventional cousin. The natural-gas Civic starts at $26,305. That's $5,650 more than the Civic EX, the gasoline-version that best compares to it in terms of features.
In order to get the gas card, buyers need to purchase their CNG-powered Civic by Jan. 2.