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  1. #1

    Natural Gas vs Hybrid?

    Being a lady, and practicly clueless about cars, I figured this would be the place to get some useful opinions.

    I'm was looking into the new 2006 Civic SI for my next car. I'm browsing the site at civiccoupe.honda.com. I'm now confused about the Hybrid and natural gas sedans. What's the difference between these, and which one is better on gas/environment? I guess I just don't understand the whole natural gas thing - is that supposed to be different than regular gas? Like I said, I'm not exactly 'car-savvy' so sorry if my questions sound kinda silly, but I appreciate your help! thanks...

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  3. #2

    Natural Gas vs Hybrid?

    "Gas" as in short for "gasoline" is not a gas, it's a liquid. It is a volatile liquid however, with high vapour pressure and low flash point. A fancy way of saying it evaporates quickly and is highly flammable at low temperatures. It is comprised mainly of middle chain hydrocarbons ("Octane" used as an indicator of anti-knock properties, is an 8 carbon hydrocarbon molecule).

    Natural gas is in fact a gas; you need to compress it to very high pressures for it to liquify. Its main component is methane, a single-carbon molecule. Because of its simple molecular structure it burns rather thoroughly, with very few pollutants, yielding mainly water and carbon dioxide (any hydrocarbon if it burns completely, gives only carbon dioxide and water; the problem is that the other junk in gasoline, and the fact that combustion isn't complete, yields other pollutants like oxides of nitrogen and sulphur).

    The result is a low-pollution vehicle but it is not as efficient as a diesel engine, overall (in terms of thermal efficiency).

    Some people complain that diesel is hard to find. It's a piece of cake finding diesel at a service station. Natural gas is another matter however, and range per fillup is nothing to brag about with natural gas. It really is only useful for fleet use in a largely urban or urban/suburban context. The relatively poor efficiency is offset by the cheapness of the fuel source.

  4. #3

    Natural Gas vs Hybrid?

    I would add that for the average person seeking practical family transportation, a hybrid is a better choice than natural gas.

    Mike G.

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