February 12, 2009 Butane gas is most commonly known as the fuel that comes in home-use canisters that power camping and caravan stoves, but that could be about to change. Honda begins sales in Japan next month of the Pianta (that's Italian for 'plant') FV200, a mini-tiller that runs on butane gas canisters.

The JPY 104,790 (USD 1165) Pianta FV200 is designed to provide easy fuel handling and operation, and for easy transport and storage. Designed to use butane gas canisters, widely available for home-use portable stoves, it enables easy engine startup and refueling so that even a novice can enjoy flower and vegetable gardening more casually. It comes with a carrying box to help keep the storage area clean and a carrying stand with built-in wheels (standard equipment), to ensure easy transport and storage for outstanding all-round convenience. The Pianta's butane-powered engine emits 10% less CO2 than a gasoline engine of the same displacement.

With the introduction of the Pianta FV200, Honda intends to cultivate new demand in Japan's flower and vegetable gardening market, which is estimated at more than 30 million people, spurred by growing interests in food safety by the baby-boomer generation.