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Re: GX Questions

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  • Re: GX Questions

    Curtis thanks for the information and bear with as I’m starting at the bottom and trying to learn the technology.
    1) What is the fill time for these vehicles, what I been reading indicated 20+ hours for a full tank?
    2) On a full tank of CNG, what is the typical mileage range?
    3) When I do refuel at a station, am I charge by the gallon or by the LB such as an outside grill tank?
    4) When fueling these vehicles is it better to continually add fuel in small increments or drain the tank and fill once?
    5) I have found via your fuel locator, site in Syracuse, Rochester, and Buffalo, that say PUBLIC, KEY ACCESS. Do I need to file applications for these sites, or need to make person site visits to gain access.
    6) What types of maintenance is need on these CNG vehicles outside of the normal car? Also as you stated knowledge is limited and if I have any problems with the car, or even just an inspection, is there an issues in NY, and would I have to jump thru hoops to get any work done?

    Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of NOT adding to the oil company’s bottom line, but if the infrastructure is not mature enough in my area, maybe I should wait.

    Thanks again for the help, I’m sure we will have more dialog.

  • #2
    Re: GX Questions

    1) 2-3 minutes at a public station, or 1/2 gge/hour with a Phill, or 1 gge/hr with an FMQ
    2) Depending on the year, the older ('98-2005) were between 180mi-200mi on a full tank. The 2006 and newer has a bit better range average of about 240mi. Mileage can vary depending on driving conditions, amount of lead in your shoes, fwy vrs city, etc.
    3) Stations charge by the gasoline Gallon Equivelent (gge), the same amount of energy that a gallon of gasoline provides.
    4) You'll get a better (more complete fill) when filling ongoingly as a tank that is 3/4 full will have less heat-expansion than a tank that's nearly empty. A slow fill is a better, more complete fill, for the same reason.
    5) Yes... Call them to confirm form of payment, or refer to the comments tab of the station you are interested. Click on the red flag on the station locator, then on the comments tab.
    6) Maintenance is basically the same as a regular car. There are fuel filters that need to be changed on a scheduled basis. Oil changes are less frequent because you have virtually no carbon fouling of the oil (that's what turns oil black). Change when the maintenance minder gets to zero, usually 8500-9500 miles, depending on driving conditions. The dealers I listed are required to maintain Honda trained cng mechanics in order to be certified to sell the cars.

    It's just difficult to find anyone in a dealership that knows much. I've been at my dealership, dealing with the GX, for 10 years. Most car sales types move around a lot and the guys that were trained 6 months ago, or last year are selling Chevy's or VW's now. I am the only dealership I'm aware of that has a dedicated CNG department... me. I handle everything to do with our station, the cars, you name it. Most dealerships give the responsibility to the fleet dept, who for the most part don't order any (or many) and could care less about learning all the intricacies of the car, incentives, etc. I have found a couple of dealerships that have made a real effort to market the car in a professional manner and really try to learn about all they can. Some even lurk around this group (and others) to learn and stay current. I applaud them.

    In general, think of the car as a regular Civic. It just runs on a different type of fuel. It drives, sounds, and feels the same and the only time you need a specialist is when it's time to deal with a fuel system related issue.

    As far as waiting to make the plunge... you have to make that call based on the merits of your research. But it becomes the chicken and the egg. No cars out there, why improve the infrastructure? Not enough infrastructure... why buy the car? If you are commited to making change happen you have to strap the farm to the back of the wagon and forge ahead into the wilderness. We are the pioneers, the trailblazers. It's a bit more of a challenge for some of us than others. Just think of a cng car as you would a tool, any tool. I need a car to drive from A to B every day. 90% of my driving is in a limited area, serviced by limited infrastructure. The other 10%, when I'm out of my normal driving area, on a trip, out of area, whatever... use your other car or rent a car with the $ you save not buying $4 a gallon gasoline. The GX is a daily commuter, local run around car. Good for trips that have available infrastructure, which may be most of your driving. Most of us have more than one car... if you're not comfortable taking the cng car somewhere... take the other one or rent something appropriate to the need.

    Kinda like a truck. If you need one from time to time... do you buy one, rent one or borrow one? The regular gas car is now like the truck.... Then there's BiFuel...


    • #3
      Re: GX Questions

      .5 gge/hr is way optimistic for Phill. .4 is closer, maybe somewhat less. It always seems take hours longer than I estimate it should. Still, 20 hours seems like too much -- maybe closer to 16 hours from 'bone dry.'

      'Card Access' can mean a special card from the company, or I have seen any credit card grant access at one station. Sometimes these sites are attended or open during business hours and the 'card access' is only for evenings and weekends. You pretty much have to visit a station at least once with an alternate plan in mind before you can rely on it. AAA Plus (up to 100 mile tow) is also a great idea with CNG for fueling problems and also getting it to a dealer that can handle CNG.

      Fuel is sold by the 'gallon' but I have never bought more than 6 gallons from a commercial dispenser even when the light was on and the fuel capacity is supposed to be 8 gge. So, don't be surprised if fills are routinely a gallon or two less than you expected. There was one report of a 'flat rate fill' online but that's the only one I've ever heard of. "CNG People" tend to be particularly friendly and helpful (the same report included more than one instance of a good samaritan giving a free fill when the guy's new special card didn't work).

      On my 2001 and 2002 I get about 200 miles until the light goes on, then another 30 until empty. Slightly less in summer.

      Whether you run the tank empty shouldn't make much difference. I assume that 1) fast fills cause more stress on the system than time fills, and 2) more cycles on my compressor are more likely to cause premature failure. So I fill at home as much as possible and usually wait until the tank is less than 1/2 full unless I know I'll need the range the next day.

      98% of the parts are the same as the standard Civic, but the ones that are different can really 'getcha' (think $1700 each). Mainly the fuel system components. Fuel filters are extremely important to change regularly unless you know your fuel supply is reliably clean and dry (as it is for homefuelers in Southern California). Check to see if your local Honda dealer has a certified CNG tech.

      Cold weather is also a potential problem for you -- apparently there may be starting problems below 4 deg. F.
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