The 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas was named Green Car of the Year at the LA Auto Show on Thursday, beating finalists including European, US and other Asian carmakers.
The Japanese automaker welcomed the award, announced on the second media open day of the Los Angeles show, which opens to the general public from November 18-27.
"The Civic Natural Gas is not only a great vehicle, it also demonstrates Honda's commitment to provide a variety of alternatives to gasoline," said Michael Accavitti, of American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
The car is the only factory-built, CNG-powered car produced in America, and went on sale in October with prices starting at $26,155, the company noted.
Honda added that it was expanding its retail network selling the car to 200 dealers in 36 states. Previously it has been limited to four states: California, New York, Utah and Oklahoma.
The five-strong shortlist of environmentally friendly cars each used a different fuel or fuel combinations, demonstrating the growing range of options available for motorists wanting to cut their carbon footprint.
Apart from the Honda, the finalists for the prize -- presented by the editors of Green Car Journal -- were: the Volkswagen Passat TDI, the Mitsubishi i, the Toyota Prius V and the Ford Focus Electric.
"That shows the industry is finally getting to the point where there's some consumer choice in green offerings," said John O'Dell, senior editor at Edmunds.com -- a leading website for car buyers.
"When you look at those vehicles, they run the gamut of fuel types, price range and vehicle types," he told the Los Angeles Times.
Last year the annual Los Angeles show's green car crown went to the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, which beat back competition from Asian rivals including Nissan and Hyundai.
Of this year's finalists, the Mitsubishi and Ford contenders are all-electric; the Prius is a larger version of the popular gas-electric hybrid, and the Volkswagen runs on diesel.
"We have some choices," said O'Dell, "and there will be far more choices a few years from now."
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