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Honda touts great safety for their Civic CNG, but I have second thoughts concerning their fuel tank's safety in rear-end collisions.

I looked for some tests and data, but could not find anything specific. I'd like to know before I buy.

  • This is both very old and quite impressive: youtube.com/watch?v=RPe1W0xWyAU – John Lyon May 15 '12 at 22:21
  • It's about LNG, and I am looking for CNG info. – GregC May 15 '12 at 22:36
  • According to the FAQ, Skeptics.SE is for researching the evidence behind the claims you hear or read, rather than just idle speculation. This question doesn't appear to have any doubtful claims to investigate. The claim made by Honda is that they performed well in crash tests. You rejected an answer that provided evidence of that. Voted to close. – Oddthinking May 15 '12 at 23:58
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    @Oddthinking To be fair, those tests don't include an actual rear impact, which is where the CNG tank is located. I suspect this is because it's warranted unnecessary, but I think it's a commonly held belief that rear-ending a car with a LPG or CNG tank can cause it to explode. I think the question should be made more generic: "Can rear-ending a CNG car cause it to explode?" The answer would be no, citing the location of the tank and the relevant engineering guidelines (structure, pressure relief, the nature of CNG, etc.) – John Lyon May 16 '12 at 3:06
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    @jozzas: That would be an excellent improvement. Here's an example of the claim. It would also get rid of the "Too Localized" aspect, where the OP only cares about one model of car. GregC, would you be happy with such a change? – Oddthinking May 16 '12 at 3:56
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The Honda Civic 2012 performs well in crash tests:

The IIHS rated it as "good" in all test areas.

Euro NCAP gave it 5 stars overall and rated specific areas as follows:

  • Adult occupant - 94%
  • Child occupant - 83%
  • Pedestrian - 69%
  • Safety assist - 86%

Crash Test

As for the safety of Compressed Natural Gas fuel tanks, these are tested using Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard FMVSS 304. The tests involve the following:

A. Pressure Cycling Test to evaluate a container's durability by requiring a container to withstand, without any leakage, 18,000 cycles of pressurization and depressurization (based on 15 years of service with 4 refuelings per day, 300 days per year). This requirement helps to ensure that a CNG container is capable of sustaining the cycling loads imposed on the container during refuelings over its entire service life.

B. Burst Test to evaluate a container's initial strength and resistance to degradation over time. This requirement helps to ensure that a container's design and material are appropriately strong over the container's life.

C. Bonfire Test to evaluate a container's pressure relief characteristics when pressure builds in a container, primarily due to temperature rise. The Bonfire Test is designed to demonstrate that CNG fuel containers, complete with the fire protection system (container valve, pressure relief devices and/or integral thermal insulation) specified in the design, will prevent the rupture of the container when tested under the specified fire conditions.

  • This does not answer my initial question, though it provides a fair bit of information. What happens to kids in the backseat of the Civic CNG if somebody rear-ends it? I'd rather test on a dummy. – GregC May 15 '12 at 22:12

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