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The Cleanest Cars on Earth?: Honda Civic GX and Other Natural Gas Vehicles (NGVs)

Clean Burning Natural Gas Vehicles (NGVs) are hot commodities in some parts of the country, where fuel can sell for as low as $0.63 per gallon. Unlike the world’s most fuel efficient car (VW’s 285 MPG bullet), the Honda Civic GX looks like a standard passenger vehicle. What makes it special is what you don’t see: tailpipe emissions that are often cleaner than ambient air. The Civic GX is powered by compressed natural gas—methane—the simplest and cleanest-burning hydrocarbon available. With an economical 113-hp, 1.8-Liter engine, the EPA has called the Civic the “world’s cleanest internal-combustion vehicle” with 90% cleaner emissions than the average gasoline-powered car on the road in 2004. And get this: in Utah, natural gas can be purchased for $0.63 p...

Natural Gas Cars: CNG Fuel Almost Free in Some Parts of the Country

While the national average price of gasoline is now $3.60, some residents of Utah are happily filling up on compressed natural gas (CNG) at $0.63 per gallon. That’s the country’s lowest price for CNG, which has understandably caused a surge in demand for vehicles running on a fuel that one man described as “practically free.” So far, CNG vehicles haven’t made a blip on my radar screen, even though the group Natural Gas Vehicles for America (NGVA) estimates there are 150,000 NGVs on U.S. roads today and over 5 million worldwide. It took a phone call from sunny Southern Utah to clue me in to recent developments, which include a local refueling station overflowing with CNG-hungry vehicles.

Car and Driver Increase Pinto Fuel Economy with $11 of Ecomods

Recently Darin at EcoModder dug up a Car and Driver article from the middle of the US gas crisis in 1974. It may be a little dated, but considering recent gas price increases these kinds of DIY hacks are becoming relevant once again. The material prices may be a little different, the cars may be a lot different, but surprisingly little has changed in terms of fuel economy and gas prices. The Car and Driver article is interesting because not only is it old, but it’s still relevant today. As someone who has been around ecomodding for a while, I can vouch for the efficacy of many of these modifications, and have done some of them myself. So, if you’re really interested, I encourage you to get out there and do some yourself. None of them are engine modifications, or particularly di...

Sick of Gas?: Convert Your Car To Run On Electricity

If you can’t buy the car you want, then build it. Gregg Abott (aka Gadget) custom-converts cars for a living, but instead of tricking out cars to run on biodiesel or get better mileage, he’s hacking them to run on electricity. He’s the owner of Left Coast Electric, a Santa Monica based company with a simple philosophy: “…if electric cars are going to make a difference, a lot of people have to drive them. They have to be made affordable.” Which means these guys aren’t putting out $100K Tesla Roadsters, but are converting older models to have the same functionality: So instead of building cars from the ground up, Gadget and his business partner, Roger Wilson, convert existing cars or shells of cars into electric vehicles by supplying or outfitting them wit...

376.59 MPG Car Found In Museum (It Was Built In 1959)

Think you need a hybrid to get great mileage? Try a souped-down 1959 Opel T-1. In another tribute to high-mileage car hacks, a man named Evan McMullen rediscovered a 1975 Guiness-World Record-Setting car that got 376.59 MPG. It was wasting away in a museum in Florida: That number doesn’t come from some manta ray-shaped, wind tunnel-vetted carbon fiber space car. No, it’s from a chop-top, steel-frame 1959 Opel T-1 (think melting jelly bean, but uglier). And the record was set in 1973 in a contest sponsored by Shell Oil Co. Unfortunately, that contest-winning mileage number occurred on a closed track at a steady 30 mph. Not exactly highway speeds. Nonetheless, it makes you wonder about the evolution of automobile manufacturing in the last 50 years: