Buying a 2003 Honda Civic GX (Natural-Gas Model)?

honda

#1

I’m eyeing a 2003 Honda Civic GX. I want a fuel-efficient car that will last for me 2-4 years. It runs on compressed natural gas, or “CNG”. It’s selling for 4 grand, and has 118,000 miles on it. I live in an area with a lot of gas stations that provide CNG.

I haven’t been able to see a carfax report or learn much of it’s history, but I will see what I can find when the dealer opens on Monday.

Does anyone have any experience with Honda Civic GXs, or any CNG vehicle? I’m curious how much it would cost to repair. Do you think this is a good deal? What are your thoughts?

I’ve read that CNG is inexpensive, but has less range, and (in this case) takes up more than half the trunk space with extra fuel-tanks. CNG also allegedly produces much less emissions, is easier on the engine, and is safer than regular gas.


#2

Do you drive enough miles a year to be this concerned about fuel usage ? If you do mostly city traffic almost any small vehicle will average 20 mpg or better. Our Ford Fiesta automatic gets between 28 to 32 with our short trip city driving. On a highway trip it reached 37 mpg .

You keep saying ’ How much to repair ? ’ that is why you have a mechanic look over anything you want to buy.


#3

OK, 15 year old odd-ball car almost NO one ever bought and very, very few have ever serviced.

Don’t you see this as a red flag? My suggestion; Look for another car.


#4

Do you drive enough miles a year to be this concerned about fuel usage ?

I drive daily, and I am a poor college student, so I do worry about fuel costs.

Don’t you see this as a red flag?

I see it as a reason to be cautious. I mean, it’s a civic with a different fuel system. It’s not that exotic.


#5

Not exotic I agree but not main stream vehicle that every one will want to work on. Stop looking at odd ball vehicles . Do you not have a relative or friend to help you ?


#6

Do you not have a relative or friend to help you ?

I’ve talked to relatives about it. They want me to learn as much as I can before making a decision, but they don’t necessarily see it as a bad purchase.


#7

True, until you try to get it repaired anywhere other than a Honda dealer that has experience with it.


#8

True, until you try to get it repaired anywhere other than a Honda dealer that has experience with it.

The civic gx was produced from 1998 to 2015. It seems like there would be people familiar with it.


#9

Don’t know what state the Op is in but where I live there is a separate fee on top of the annual registration for alternative fuels vehicles.


#10

Don’t know what state the Op is in but where I live there is a separate fee on top of the annual registration for alternative fuels vehicles.

Thanks, I didn’t think about that. I’ve checked though, and there isn’t one where I live.


#11

If you haven’t read this already, check out this site.

https://afdc.energy.gov/fuels/natural_gas.html


#12

If you haven’t read this already, check out this site.

Thanks, I have already looked at that. There is a lot of interesting info.


#13

The university where I was a faculty member for 44 years experimented with CNG by converting some Ford Taurus cars in the fleet to run on CNG. The engineer who worked this out is a good friend. This experiment took place in either the late 1980s or sometime in the 1990s. The results were that CNG powered vehicles were not cost effective. It was cheaper to run gasoline powered vehicles. The CNG equipment was removed and the Ford Taurus cars, which could run on both CNG and regular gasoline were converted back to gasoline only.
As a poor student, I would recommend that you go with a Toyota Corolla, a Honda Civic or a Toyota Matrix or the equivalent Pontiac Vibe. You want s common car. When I was in graduate school, we had a Rambler Classic. This was back in 1969. Unfortunately, there was no American Motors (Rambler) dealer in that University town. There were shops that would work on the Rambler, but if a part was needed that was unique to the Rambler, it had to be shipped in from a city 55 miles away. The parts were usually sent by bus and I paid the shipping charge. Also, the car was out of service for a couple of days while the part was in transit.
In those days, I should have had a Ford or Chevy. Every shop had worked on these cars. I think the equivalent today is the gasoline powered Honda or Toyota. I think you will be ahead in the long run with one of these cars.


#14

Do not get this car. Getting fueled will be a HUGE headache. Get a Honda Fit instead.


#15

Getting fueled will be a HUGE headache.

That’s… not really true. There are gas stations with CNG all over where I live. Please read my initial post. :confused:

The results were that CNG powered vehicles were not cost effective.

Why weren’t they?


#16

So you will never leave that area? Major limitation to me.


#17

So you will never leave that area? Major limitation to me.

Have you seen a map of where gas stations that can provide CNG are?


#19

There are about 160,000 gas stations, about 1,600 CNG stations (1%). You may have no problem commuting, but road trips would be much more difficult, especially given the car’s range (200 miles or so).


#20

In 1970 a friend bought a '61 Valiant that also ran on propane. It burnt gasoline too. Why doesn’t a CNG engine burn gas too?


#21

@RandomTroll. The university where I was a faculty member equipped some Ford Taurus cars to run on CNG. These cars could also run on gasoline. There was a switch on the dashboard to go from one fuel to the other. This was around 1990 and allowed these vehicles to go on road trips where CNG might not be available.
@sample0164_145007. At the time, the cost of natural gas was more expensive to run the vehicles than using gasoline. There is the cost to compress the natural gas. Also, the same volume of CNG didn’t produce as much power as the same volume of gasoline.
I have often thought about different ways of powering the vehicles I drive. At one time I thought about buying a used Citicar, a battery powered vehicle made in the 1970s for use around town. I decided it wasn’t practical. I was employed at the time and could afford to experiment. When I was a student, having a car that was common and easily serviced was of utmost importance. Time was too valuable and I needed the time for my studies. I didn’t have the time to spend worrying about the car. When I was doing my graduate studies, there was a Standard station just off campus. I had a good working relationship with the proprietor and it paid off in not having to worry about car maintenance.
My main goal was to earn my degree. My wife and I lived in campus housing. I could jump.on a campus bus right outside my apartment building and be at my classroom building in less than five minutes. I had fellow students that started the program I was on a year before I enrolled and we’re still there after I finished my coursework. These students lived in more luxurious privately owned apartments off campus. They spent time finding a parking place. They drove more expensive automobiles and had to spend more time finding suitable repair shops.