Offering some California consumers the opportunity to say "goodbye" to petrol, American Honda Motor Co. has announced that it will begin limited retail sales of its natural gas-powered Civic GX sedan paired with a revolutionary new home-refuelling appliance called Phill.

The Civic GX is the cleanest internal combustion vehicle ever certified by the US EPA and, with the introduction of home refuelling, has the lowest fuel cost per mile of any new vehicle. The Phill appliance, manufactured and marketed by FuelMaker Corporation, is an affordable home refuelling appliance that allows drivers the convenience of refuelling their vehicles at home using their existing natural gas supply. Phill will be available for lease through 17 authorized California dealers in San Diego, Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Sacramento and San Francisco.

"Driving a natural gas vehicle has never been so convenient. California commuters can now enjoy HOV lane access, federal tax benefits, access to a domestically-sourced fuel and the convenience of filling up without ever visiting a gas station," said a Honda spokesman.

For the past seven years, Honda has marketed the Civic GX to fleet operators who have their own dedicated fuelling stations. A limited number of retail customers have also purchased the Civic GX, relying on the existing public natural gas refuelling network. Honda is the only manufacturer currently offering a dedicated natural gas-powered passenger car to the general public in North America.

The Civic GX sedan provides practical transportation for up to four passengers with a driving range of between 200 and 220 miles.

Phill can be mounted to a garage wall either indoors or outdoors and allow a natural gas-powered vehicle to be refuelled overnight directly from a homeowner's existing natural gas supply line. Phill is designed to offer ease of operation with simple "start" and "stop" buttons and will automatically turn itself off when the tank is full. It must be installed by a trained technician authorised by FuelMaker.

The Federal government currently offers a $2,000 tax deduction on the purchase of a new alternative fuel vehicle, and local incentives and rebates may also be available to some consumers. Drivers in California and nine other states also qualify for High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane access for solo commuters.