General Motors has announced pricing for its Chevy Silverado HD and GMC Sierra 2500HD bi-fuel extended bed pickup trucks today. The price premium will be about $ 11,000 above the suggested cost of the base-price (single fuel) vehicle. This price will make the economic decision to use the CNG/gasoline powered trucks easy. Currently about 30% less than the cost per mile of gasoline, the CNG truck could pay for itself over the life of the vehicle if run on natural gas all the time if natural gas prices continue to decline, and gasoline prices continue to climb. With a 100,000 mile powertrain and emissions warranty, the cost of ownership is easy to spread over the full life of the truck. The trucks go on sale Thursday.
Economics and Ecology
Economics are the not the main reasons to use the bi-fuel truck on CNG. CNG is a domestic fuel in the US and recent discoveries have pushed the reserves up considerably. Gasoline is becoming rarer, and although the US is a net exporter or petroleum products, it is an importer of raw crude. CNG also produces less carbon dioxide than gasoline when used as a fuel. The two trucks meet all emissions rules including those set by the strict California Air Resources Board (CARB). The addition of CNG fueled vehicles will also help GM to meet its corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) goals.
Unlike natural gas conversions, the GMC and Chevy trucks are sold through dealerships ready to use and with the standard, full, warranty. A single lightweight tank holds the CNG. CNG usage for fleet vehicles, and even for personal vehicles, is popular in other countries. In Japan taxis have been using CNG for decades. In the UK, where gasoline is taxed at astounding rates, CNG conversions of larger vehicles like Range Rovers are common. Here in the US, the Honda Civic is offered as a CNG fueled vehicle in certain states.
Adding the bi-fuel powertrain provides GM customers with an option they might find economically and ecologically sound.