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.