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Natural Gas-Powered Honda + Home Refueler Hits CA Market

Admittedly on a limited basis at the beginning, American Honda Motor Co., Inc., offered Californian's a chance at a version of "energy independence," sending out its first retail version of the natural gas-powered Civic GX sedan, combined with a new home-refueling appliance the car maker is calling "Phill" (as in "phill-er up").

The natural gas version of the Civic, which Honda called the "cleanest internal combustion vehicle ever certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency," will be available, along with leased versions of the Phill produced by FuelMaker Corp., at 17 authorized Honda California dealers in five cities (San Diego, Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Sacramento and San Francisco).

"The combination of the Civic GX and the Phill home-refueling appliance provides consumers with an alternative to gasoline-powered vehicles and represents the ultimate in environmentally friendly transportation currently available," said Gunnar Lindstrom, American Honda's senior manager of alternative fuel vehicle sales. "Driving a natural gas vehicle has never been so convenient."

Honda said the 1.7-liter, 4-cylinder Civic GX comes with a "continuously variable automatic transmission" and is priced at $21,760. The Phill refueling units can be leased from $34 to $79 monthly, plus the cost of installation.

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