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In Tough Gas Economy, Civics Are Being Reborn

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By Lindsey Seavert, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – When you live across the street from a gas station and your truck gets about 10 miles to the gallon, there’s no better time to put the past in park.

Patrick McGowan, of West St. Paul, is proud enough of his 1979 Ford F-250 to give it a nickname: “Old Blue.” But he doesn’t even dare fill ‘er up these days. He says he can barely afford to use his truck for his favorite hobby, fishing.

“As gas prices have gone up, my freedom has gone down as far as getting around,” said McGowan.

So he set out to find a car with three times the gas mileage. He wanted a Honda Civic and near downtown Minneapolis, found the business, Civics Reborn.

Owner Zachary Moore, 21, started the business three years ago before gas prices tipped around $4 a gallon. Today, he’ll tell you the boiling point is driving a new make and model of business here in the Twin Cities.

“We’ve definitely quadrupled our business in the past three months,” said Moore.

The Civics Reborn program reinvents the concept of the used car. Moore sells just one generation of Honda Civics, what he calls the fifth generation known for safety features — from 1992 to 1995 — then strips them down, and rebuilds with mostly new parts.

Civics Reborn says they save money and energy by selling or recycling the old parts that are taken out of the old Civics.

“It has a zero carbon footprint. It’s already been bought, been driven,” said Moore. “This takes it to a whole new level. We are able to get closer to new car without having to take the entire car and build it first.”

Moore says fed up commuters like the average $5,000 price tag. Specializing in the Civic allows Moore to buys large quantities of parts at a cheaper rate, which helps mechanics cut down on labor.

“I can pull one of these motors out in two hours,” said mechanic Khris Spencer.

Civics Reborn customers head out on the road with a two-year warranty, driving cars that get around 30 to 35 miles per gallon.

Moore recently moved to a larger warehouse to keep up with demand.

Patrick McGowan says he understands why. He hopes that soon his new Civic will help kick his costs to the curb.

“It’s a money thing,” said McGowan. “I thought, ‘I have to do something different.’”

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