Natural-gas car piques interest

David Bruderly shows off the engine of a Honda Civic that is propelled by natural gas. The car was on display for those attending this weekend’s environmental law conference at the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law.

Published: Sunday, March 1, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, February 28, 2009 at 9:37 p.m.

In a time when alternative fuel sources seem years away, there is one source that can be tapped into by the time summer rolls around.

On Saturday at the University of Florida Levin College of Law 15th Annual Public Interest Environmental Conference, entrepreneur and CEO of Wise Gas, David Bruderly, stood by a booth answering hundreds of questions from eager and curious onlookers about his car.

The car is a Honda Civic GX, but most importantly it's a car that runs exclusively on natural gas.

On loan from Tampa Electric, Bruderly drove the car to Gainesville from Ocala to show the potential of alternative fuel sources.

"I convinced them to come to the conference to show young students and policymakers that there are alternatives to liquid petroleum fuels," Bruderly said.

Natural gas is methane produced in the United States onshore in various locations, including Texas, Arkansas, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

According to Bruderly, the greenhouse emissions of a car running on this fuel source are 30 percent lower than a gasoline vehicle. While getting the same fuel efficiency as a regular car, the fuel price is about one-third the price of gasoline, Bruderly said.

"It is the cleanest car manufactured in the world today, from an emissions standpoint," he said.

The thing that makes natural gas such an exciting proposition is its immediacy and low-cost, Bruderly said.

Any person can order one of these cars today for $20,000 and its delivery will be scheduled for June 2009, he said. The price includes a natural gas fuel appliance for the home. The Civic on display at UF on Saturday can travel 220 miles before it needs refueling.

"Everybody is talking about battery electric vehicles, which are still 10 years away. Everybody is talking about cellulosic ethanol vehicles, which are still five to 10 years away," Bruderly said. "Natural gas is a fuel that is available now, today."

Bruderly believes the United States' addiction to foreign oil must stop now for the good of our future generations.

"If we are serious about breaking the addiction to foreign oil and having raw energy security in the United States and for the whole planet, we have got to diversify the motor fuel economy away from sole dependency on liquid motor fuels," he said.

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