Car Research

Car Research

So I’ve been researching AFV (alternative fuel vehicles) lately. On Saturday, based on all my readings online, I determined that the Honda Civic GX was for me. The GX is a CNG vehicle, which means it runs on compressed natural gas. No gasoline whatsoever. So the benefits include super clean emissions, oil independence, and of course, the coveted HOV-lane sticker. After calling about eight different Honda dealerships in the area, I finally landed one with the GX. Most people didn’t even know what I was talking about over the phone. Up until now, the GX wasn’t really marketed to consumers. Rather, Honda targeted government peeps; hence all the white CNG vans and white sedans. So boring.

Saturday afternoon, John and I drove to San Leandro. I test drove the GX, and my. god. That thing was louder than hell. Not because of the CNG, but simply because it was a Civic instead of an Accord. I mean, I don’t drive a fancy schmancy car. I have a Camry, but holy shit, is there a difference in the road noise. I didn’t even take the thing on the highway. I just drove down the main strip, and Jesus, with the radio on, I still couldn’t hear a thing. There was just constant rumbling. We were totally turned off. Then, the trunk space was practically nonexistent due to the CNG fuel tank, so the vehicle only carries 8 gallons. Gas mileage is pretty much comparable to the normal Civic too, so I suppose one question is “How green do I want to go?” In the end, this just wasn’t the answer, unfortunately.

While our Camry was in the shop for service (which sucked btw. Don’t ever go to Toyota 101 in Redwood City. Total ghetto service!), we drove around a Prius again. I had tried this car the last time the Camry was in service; I hated it then. But I figured I’d give it another go. Well, off the bat, we had the same problem as with the Civic: noisy as hell. You can forget about having a conversation in the vehicle. Seriously. Forget it. On top of that, the Prius is narrow. And it just has the feel of a cheap car. I mean, there’s no other way to say it really. And I guess it makes sense to keep the gas mileage high and all. Crazy thing, in order to get the HOV sticker in CA, the DMV requires more than just hybrid technology. Your vehicle has to get 45 mpg, so I can kiss good-bye to a slew of other green cars: Camry hybrid, Accord hybrid, Lexus hybrids (well, if John went down that road…). Basically, my choices are Prius, Civic, and Insight. Yup, looks like I’ll be sticking with the Camry a bit longer. What can I do?

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