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Slow sales cause Honda to scrub natural gas, hybrid Civics

Published:Thursday | June 18, 2015 | 11:02 PM

Slow sales and falling gasolene prices have prompted Honda to stop selling gas-electric hybrid and natural gas-powered versions of its Civic compact car.

The company also said that it will discontinue a plug-in rechargeable version of the midsize Accord, but it plans to roll out a new, more efficient version of the Accord hybrid early next year, and a new plug-in Accord will come later.

Executive Vice-president John Mendel said on Monday in a statement that production of the natural gas Civic already has been halted, and hybrid Civic production would end after the 2015 model year.

The average price of a gallon of regular gasolene in the United States was $2.80 on Monday, 86 cents below a year ago.

Few natural gas stations

Mendel also said that the small number of natural gas refuelling stations continued to be a challenge for owners. Honda has sold only about 16,000 natural gas Civics since 1998. Mendel said Honda would continue to service the natural gas cars.

Through May, Honda sold only 1,873 hybrid Civics out of a total of 129,574, according to Autodata Corp. Natural gas Civic sales for the year were not released.

Part of the reason for the slow hybrid and natural gas Civic sales is the progress that Honda and other automakers have made getting better mileage out of gas-powered vehicles. Honda plans to start selling a sleek-looking new Civic in the fall that will get a little more than 40 miles per gallon in highway driving, Mendel said in the statement.

- AP