Skip to main content
  • Daily Deals
  • Sell
  • Customer Support

Green Driving

  • Electric


    Avoid gas stations altogether. Electricity is cheap and ubiquitous. EVs are the greenest vehicles you can buy. But limited range means mostly local driving.

  • Hybrid


    Gas-electric hybrids are the most efficient cars that don’t have a plug. There are nearly 40 available models—ranging from compact to full-size SUV.

  • Diesel


    Diesel vehicles have exceptional fuel efficiency and are fun to drive. Today's diesels are much cleaner and quieter than those from previous generations.

  • High MPG Gas

    High MPG Gas

    Great fuel efficiency is possible with conventional gas engines. There's a growing list of reasonably priced models getting 35 mpg or higher.

  • CNG

    Natural Gas

    Research is required to find a local station that pumps CNG (Compressed Natural Gas), and choice of models is limited. But the payoff is low-cost fuel that burns clean.

  • Ethanol


    If you live near an E85 pump, a flex-fuel car utilizes a domestic source of farm-grown fuel.

Green Driving news & articles

Find green cars

Browse by category

Find Parts

CNG Car Buying Guide

By Brad Berman
Posted on Dec 13, 2012
CNG Car Buying Guide

Is a CNG Vehicle Right for You?

Compressed natural gas is a cleaner and less expensive automotive fuel than gasoline, and it generally comes from domestic sources. When considering the purchase of a CNG vehicle, owners should first determine whether convenient and reliable CNG fueling is available nearby.

Natural gas is normally used in the U.S. to generate electricity, heat homes and businesses, and as a component in a variety of industrial processes. In the United States, a very small amount of natural gas—a fraction of a percent—is used to fuel vehicles. In the past, CNG vehicles have been used in private and government fleets, but individuals are also increasingly buying these vehicles.Owners of natural gas cars love them, because CNG is cheaper than gasoline—and some states grant solo CNG drivers access to carpool lanes. 

Are There Drawbacks To Consider?

Natural gas has lower energy content than gasoline—meaning reduced range between fill-ups.  So, you’ll need to return to a CNG fueling location more often, and those stations can be hard to find, and have more limited hours of use.

In addition, because CNG has less energy content than gasoline, cars powered by natural gas can be slow pokes.   In some cases, CNG cars are tuned for efficiency—after all, that’s the main idea behind them—rather than for performance.  This tuning earns a higher EPA efficiency rating for CNG cars, but make them sluggish on fast-moving roadways.

Finally, CNG is a gaseous fuel stored in relatively large high-pressure tanks, usually stored in a vehicle’s trunk.  Before buying a CNG car, take a careful look at trunk space and evaluate if it will meet your cargo needs.

What Are the Top Models?

For the past several years, there’s been only one new U.S. car that runs on CNG: the Honda Civic Natural Gas (formerly the Civic GX).  So, our list of top models is short—although there’s usually a good selection of CNG vehicles on eBay, most commonly vans and trucks converted from gas vehicles to run in government and corporate fleets. 

The Civic Natural Gas offers all the reliability, styling and build-quality of the conventional Civic, but with a drivetrain capable of using CNG as fuel.

Consumers who want something with more utility than the Civic will be cheered by the promises that General Motors will soon begin taking orders for the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra extended-cab pickups with six-liter V-8s that can run on either gasoline or natural gas. GM estimates that these workhorses could save drivers $6,000 to $10,000 over three years on the road.

Where Do I Get Fuel?

Compared to ever-present regular gas stations, there are only about 1,000 locations offering compressed natural gas. California has more than 200, but other states only have a handful. CNG drivers must remain aware of their range and distance from a CNG station and/or be willing to install home refueling.  Consult with the Department of Energy’s map of CNG fueling locations to see if there’s an accessible spot near you.

How Much Does the Fuel Cost?

As petroleum prices erratically jump up and down and up again, it's tempting to look at compressed natural gas as an economic alternative. Buyer beware: the math is tricky.

Since CNG is normally sold as a gas rather than a liquid, it isn't measured in gallons, but can be converted on an energy basis that equals a gallon of gasoline. The term used for this conversation is GGE, or "gallon of gasoline equivalent."

At the end of 2012, when the national average for a gallon of gasoline was about $3.50, prices for CNG in various markets across the United States were around $2.50 per GGE. While a one-dollar price advantage sounds attractive, CNG vehicles have lower fuel efficiency than hybrid vehicles. Civic Natural Gas, for example, averages 31 mpg, while a Civic Hybrid is rated at 44 mpg. So while a GGE of CNG is cheaper, the Civic Natural Gas needs more fuel to operate, and therefore the cost per mile can be the same or higher.

Is It Green?

Compared to a standard car, natural gas vehicles can reduce exhaust emissions of carbon monoxide by 70 percent; oxides of nitrogen by 87 percent; and carbon dioxide by 20 percent.

The Honda Civic Natural Gas isn’t just a cleaner alternative to gas guzzlers, it’s as green as the zero-emission Nissan Leaf, according to the annual survey by the energy efficiency group ACEEE. Honda’s car is a dark horse among much more celebrated hybrids and battery electrics, but it quietly racks up high scores from ratings groups and wins awards—among them Green Car Journal’s Green Car of the Year award for 2012.

But the dark horse has a somewhat dark secret, according to some environmentalists.  Hydraulic fracturing (or fracking)—the process by which CNG is extracted—has become extremely controversial though in recent years. The 2010 documentary “Gasland” brought national attention to a host of pollution and safety issues that have been raised in the local communities that surround fracking sites, leading many environmental advocates to call for an outright ban on the practice. In 2010, the New York state legislator passed the first of several moratoriums banning fracking until its dangers could be more fully studied and safeguards imposed.

In 2011, the EPA admitted for the first time that fracking chemicals might be responsible for contaminating ground water near a site in Wyoming. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has long admitted that more research needs to be done into the chemicals and procedures used in fracking, but says she's fully confident that the practice is “perfectly capable of being clean,” once these potential dangers are more fully understood.

eBay Green Machines

  • Review: 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4X4 EcoDiesel

    Review: 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland 4X4 EcoDiesel

    Likes: Diesel engine is smooth, quiet, powerful, efficient Impressive fuel economy for a luxury SUV Refined, upscale, comfortable interior Off-road capability and adjustability Dislikes: Upper trim levels are expensive Diesel engine option adds $4,500 to price over gas V6 Automatic transmission selector makes you double check Soft suspension means soft cornering Drivers who want an […]
  • Green Ways to Save on St. Patrick’s Day

    Green Ways to Save on St. Patrick’s Day

    Hard to believe spring is just around the corner, even though old man winter refuses to loosen his grip in some parts of the country. To avoid getting stuck on the side of the road in good or bad weather, our friends at Car Care Council recommend a few easy tips to keep you happily […]
  • Early Bird Gull-Wing Bradley GT Electric Car

    Early Bird Gull-Wing Bradley GT Electric Car

    eBay Listing: 1980 Bradley GT II EV There’s a dearth of information available about the seriously cool Bradley GT fiberglass two-seat gull-wing kit car from the 1960s and 1970s. Web reports indicate that about 6,000 of the original Bradley GT cars were sold to kit builders, before the more refined but short-lived GT II was […]
  • BMW 3 Series Diesel, First Impressions

    BMW 3 Series Diesel, First Impressions

    The all-new BMW 328 Diesel will change the way you view diesel. Watch actor Lamman Rucker’s first impressions as he gets behind the wheel to feel the diesel difference. BMW has introduced the 328d, powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo-diesel developing 180 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque. While EPA estimates declare the new 3 […]
  • 2014 Toyota Highlander Preview

    2014 Toyota Highlander Preview

    Pros: Sharp, athletic new exterior style Roomy interior is also quite luxurious Excellent road manners for a large vehicle Lots of available tech features Cons: Powertrain options are largely unchanged High priced Hybrid model lacks a good value proposition Mid-sized crossovers have fast become one of the bread and butter automotive segments. Folks looking for […]
  • Audi Innovation Demonstrated at CES

    Audi Innovation Demonstrated at CES

    Audi Sport Quattro Laserlight Concept Dressed to impress in Plasma Red paint, the Audi Sport quattro Laserlight concept was the grand closer at the 2014 International CES Audi keynote. The keynote was hosted by Big Bang Theory cast member, Kunal Nayyar, but even the CBS sitcom star was upstaged when the Laserlight concept rolled onto […]
  • Chevy Spark EV Charges onto the Electric Highway

    Chevy Spark EV Charges onto the Electric Highway

    Review: 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV Likes: DC fast charging capability Sprinter-class acceleration Guiltless around-town driving Lots of information and displays to monitor energy usage Dislikes: 6-speaker sound system Non-perforated leatherette seats don’t breathe Minimal cabin insulation makes it difficult to converse on the phone using the hands-free Bluetooth system Range anxiety More zero-emission, electric-only powered […]
  • Air In, Water Out. Toyota Near Ready with Fuel Cell Car

    Air In, Water Out. Toyota Near Ready with Fuel Cell Car

    Last November at the 2013 LA Auto Show, Toyota announced its commitment to building cars with a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain along with other big carmakers such as Honda and Hyundai. Today at the International CES show in Las Vegas, Toyota released more details behind its fuel cell development program and told us that we […]
  • eBay Collection: Green Machines

    eBay Collection: Green Machines

    eBay Collection: Green Machines Alternative fuel vehicles date back to the early 1800s, with the first electric carriage appearing about 30 years after the first gas-powered vehicle. Electric cars made up about thirty percent of all cars on the road in 1900, but demand waned after Charles Kettering invented the electric starter, eliminating the need […]
  • 2014 BMW i3 Snags Green Car Nomination

    2014 BMW i3 Snags Green Car Nomination

    The new BMW i3 is the boldest model to come out of the BMW brand in quite some time now. Green Car Reports is praising this new model and has even put it on its short list of their Best Car to Buy as a nominee amongst 2014 models. Why the Love From Green Car […]

Green Driving Poll

What alternative fuel are you the most likely to try?