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Ford offers power to choose CNG/LPG capable F-150 pickups

CNG and LPG, offering both lower costs and cleaner emissions than gasoline or diesel, are an attractive option for commercial fleet owners, who can now buy CNG-capable Ford F-150 pickup trucks.

Ford Automotive is expanding their Power of Choice concept from passenger cars to light trucks. On Wednesday the company announced that the 2014 Ford F-150 will offer a gaseous-fuel prep option on the 3.7-liter V6 engine; it will be able to run on compressed natural gas or liquefied petroleum gas.

What that means is the 3.7 liter F-150 will be easily converted to run on CNG (compressed natural gas) or LPG (liquefied petroleum gas). Both fuels have environmental benefits and significant cost savings over traditional gasoline engines.

This adds Ford's most popular truck, the F-150, to their existing line of gaseous-fuel capable trucks. Those include the Transit Connect van and wagon; Transit van, wagon, cutaway and chassis cab; E-Series van, wagon, cutaway and stripped chassis; F-Series Super Duty pickup and F-350 chassis cab; F-Series Super Duty chassis cab (F-450, F-550); F-650 medium-duty truck; F53 and F59 stripped chassis; and now the 2014 F-150 light-duty pickup.

The conversion to run on CNG or LPG is performed by a Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier, each of whom offer a wide variety of CNG options to customers. The qualified vehicle modifiers perform the conversion while retaining the full warranty from Ford. The conversion options include a bi-fuel capability, where the vehicle has two fuel tanks and a switch on the dashboard to select the chosen fuel.

The factory-installed gaseous-fuel prep package includes hardened valves, valve seats, pistons and rings enabling operation on either natural gas or gasoline through separate fuel systems. The gaseous-fuel prep package costs approximately $315. The qualified vehicle modifier will charge another $7,500 to $9,500 for the conversion which includes items like fuel tanks, fuel lines and unique fuel injectors.

When the 3.7-liter V6 F-150 is equipped with a CNG/LPG engine package, it is capable of achieving more than 750 miles on one tank of gas, depending on the tank size selected.

“Businesses and fleet customers have been asking Ford to make F-150 available with CNG capability to take advantage of the fuel’s low price and clean emissions,” said Jon Coleman, Ford fleet sustainability and technology manager. “With the money saved using CNG, customers could start to see payback on their investment in as little as 24 to 36 months.”

Use of CNG or LPG provides some price stability and significant savings over the current wild fluctuations in gasoline or diesel prices. CNG sells for an average of $2.11 per gallon of gasoline equivalent, and is as low as $1 in some parts of the country, making for huge savings over gasoline or diesel.

Since reintroducing the option in 2009, Ford has established itself as the leader in CNG/LPG engine sales. Ford is on pace to sell more than 15,000 CNG/LPG-prepped vehicles this year, an increase of more than 25 percent from 2012.

AT&T is one of Ford's customers who are adopting CNG, and they recently purchased 650 F-350 chassis cabs with the CNG-prep option. “We’re almost halfway to our company-wide goal of deploying 15,000 alternative-fuel vehicles by the end of year 2018,” said Jerome Webber, AT&T vice president, global fleet operations. “Vehicles such as CNG F-350s from Ford have helped us avoid purchasing 7.7 million gallons of gasoline over the past five years while reducing our fleet’s emissions.”

Venchurs Vehicle Systems is one of the Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifiers and is now offering compressed natural gas conversions for the 3.7L Ford F-150. Venchurs' expanding CNG portfolio as a Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM) for Ford already includes bi-fuel and dedicated conversions for the 6.2L Ford F-250 and F-350 and the 2.0L Transit Connect, and anticipates two new vehicles in 2014.

"We lead the industry in responding to the needs and wants of our customers, and there has been a growing demand for CNG powered half ton trucks," said Jeff Wyatt, CEO of Venchurs. "Since Ford is now offering a gaseous prepped engine for the 3.7L F-150, customers can order the Venchurs conversion through any Ford dealer and maintain the full Ford warranty as well as finance the cost of the conversion. The Ford F-150 is a leader in industry sales, and accolades such as 'Best Light Duty Pickup Truck' from and Popular Mechanics continue to help its popularity--we're excited to add it to our growing product portfolio."