Nicole Dyer, Headlines Editor
My brother and I decided to take the GX for a spin up to Bash Bish Falls in Mt. Washington, Massachusetts, a 130-mile trip from New York City. The night before, I flipped through the directory of natural-gas stations searching for filling stations along our route. Of the dozens listed, only two of them were open on weekends: one at LaGuardia Airport and another 90 miles away in Poughkeepsie, New York. Run out of gas in between, and it'd be tow-truck city.
First stop: LaGuardia. The pump at the station wasn't so different from a traditional one, except that the nozzle delivered pressurized gas instead of liquid fuel, and it made a startling hissing noise while doing it. Total fill: 5.4 gallons. Cost: $13.53. Because the pressure at natural-gas pumps can vary depending on the health of the compressors, we left the station with the tank just 85 percent full. Not ideal, considering that our next fueling option was 90 miles away.
The ride up was smooth and uneventful-the car drives like a regular Civic-but I was hyperwatchful of the digital gas meter on the instrument panel. It's marked by white bars, which disappear dramatically one by one as the tank empties. By the time we reached the falls, we had a scant four bars remaining. That translates to less than a quarter of a tank, just enough to get us to the next closest station, about 40 miles south in Poughkeepsie, on our way home.
After a day of hiking, it was about 7:30 p.m. before we got back on the road, and I wasn't happy about the prospect of running out of fuel in Poughkeepsie at night. Lucky for us, our GPS unit (named Kent for his emotionless enunciation of street names) knew a shortcut and proceeded to guide us through a maze of winding backroads. With one bar left, Kent eventually led us to a lone and unlit filling station at the back of parking lot behind a nondescript municipal building. Then came a new set of worries: Would the pump work? Would it accept our credit card? Would anyone find us if we ran out of gas? Was there any salty Asian snack mix left?
Much to our relief, the pump flowed perfectly, and we made it back to the city without the aid of roadside assistance. Bottom line: Honda's NGV Civic is an economical and environmentally friendly alternative to gas-powered cars, but if you plan to road trip in it, don't leave home without Kent.
Kris LaManna, Photo Editor
I've taken the GX out on two drives so far-one to the Philadelphia area and one to Danbury, Connecticut. I had a very smooth experience with the car. I will say that not seeing exactly how many miles I had left was a bit unnerving, considering that there are only so many filling stations that I had access to. What put me at ease a bit was the fact that I knew exactly where I was headed and was able to figure out the miles beforehand. The car drove great, and having people stop me and ask about it was a unique experience. I had no problems finding or filling the tank but, of course, would love to have more options. All in all, both adventures with the car proved to be enjoyable.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.