Roch. family cruising along without gasoline
Here's some from the two stories I had today about the Camerons who drive a Honda Civic that runs on compressed natural gas instead of gasoline.
This is a follow-up to Kwik Trip's announcement that it have a CNG pump at its new store on Rochester's 19th Street Northwest.
At first glance, the Cameron family's 2012 Honda Civic looks the same as any other Civic.
However, this car has never used a single drop of gasoline and is the only one of its kind in Rochester.
A little logo — "CNG" — on the trunk tells the story. The car that Karen Cameron drives to work and to take her seventh-grade daughter to school events runs on compressed national gas.
It's the only factory-built model available in the U.S., though a wide selection of large trucks, vans and buses are in made by Ford, General Motors and even McNeilus Trucks in Dodge Center.
Compressed natural gas costs about half of what drivers are paying for a comparable gallon of gasoline. It burns much cleaner, releasing only about a tenth of the carbon emissions into the air that gasoline or diesel does.
CNG is also plentiful in the United States, with a supply that is estimated to last more than 100 years without importing any from other countries.
Those are the aspects that excite Graham Cameron and his son, Ian Cameron, who are both enthusiastic proponents of alternate fuels and technology like geothermal heat pumps and solar power systems.
"But my wife is a different story. She doesn't get into this like Ian and I do," says Graham Cameron. "I'm surprised by how quickly she accepted it. The bottom line is that she loves it."
Karen Cameron acknowledges that buying the car in April wasn't really something she was excited about.
"I was a little bit of a naysayer because of the extra up front costs" — about $6,000 more than a standard Civic plus about $6,000 for the garage fueling system installed by K&S Heating, she says.
Then she started the driving the car. It doesn't feel any different, and it is much quieter than its more plentiful gasoline-burning siblings. It goes 250 miles on a tank of CNG, which the Camerons fill by locking on a nozzle and letting it pump overnight.
Karen Cameron has driven 8,000 to 9,000 miles in the past six months without once filling at gasoline pumps, although she did use a CNG pump in the Twin Cities once.
"It has been great," she says.