Car of the Future Open Production

My Car of the Future, Today

Rex Irby
Elmhurst, Illinois
Compressed Natural Gas Honda Civic GX

Irby vehicle

I have five children, wife, dog, and now a Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Honda Civic 2006 GX with a Phill pump in my garage as my gas station.

I exhaustively researched the options for my lifestyle for three months and finally arrived at the Honda Civic GX. I wanted a total factory-built, full-warranty solution, and I came to find that Honda is the only manufacturer on American soil left in the CNG niche.

Reasons to change my driving behaviors:

  1. Failed energy policy and foreign energy reliance,
  2. Clean air,
  3. Low fuel cost made CNG the only real option for me,
  4. The car is fantastic!!

If we each take responsibility and do something, then we can all make a difference.

Here's an overview of what I found in my research:

Hybrids? Cons: Still burning gasoline from the Gulf (not the Mexico one). The main battery amortized over its life cost more per mile than the gasoline saved. Federal tax incentives are pretty much gone now. Pros: Less emissions than a typical truck (half of all vehicles in America).

E85, Biodiesel? Pros: Good for Illinois, Iowa, and other corn-producing states, bad for Texas, my always and forever home state. Cons: Cannot be pipelined, from what I read, must be made pretty close to where it's consumed. Good for truckers, bad for pipeline companies. E85 looses approximately 12 percent of typical mpg and thus have to buy more gallons to get the same distance down the road. Petroleum 15 percent is still going to the Gulf!! Pros: Less emissions than the trucks.

Electric Cars (EV)? The batteries weigh 500-600 pounds and last, from my research, about three years and then need to be fully fork-lifted and replaced, a $4,000-$6,000 proposition. Pros: One great quick and fast car when done right. Just need to have a Hummer budget for batteries! The best emissions compared to petroleum-based cars!! But emissions depend on how your local electric utility generates the electricity that feeds your car.

Hydrogen, Fuel Cells? Maybe in 15-20 years, at best, with U.S. and China and Japan all working together in a joint venture managed by Warren Buffet and Honda. WOW, not likely. Let's move it out to 30-50 years from now, if Florida is still above water.

Compressed Natural Gas? (CNG) Pros: It's here, now. You can do it as I have. It's almost a "no brainer." Natural gas is a stepping stone or bridge to hydrogen cars. Tankers from the Gulf are not needed since we produce our own natural gas in North America, and it travels 700 miles a day in our pipelines already. No major loss in horsepower or mpg. Cleanest alternative, other than electric and hydrogen cars. $5,000 back from the federal government, more than double that of hybrids. State programs usually ice that refund cake with another $3,000-$4,000!

The Winner Please: Goes to CNG while I am alive. And let's get to hydrogen and fuel cells for our grandchildren!

See other Cars of the Future, Today.

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Dogs love riding in cars, no matter how they're powered.

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Two of Rex Irby's five kids give the CNG car a big thumbs up.

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