Pickup trucks are historically one of the gas-guzzling monsters of the road. Despite their fuel efficiency being less than desirable, they are utilitarian vehicles and many people cannot do without them. Fortunately, more and more economical bi-fuel options for pickups are now available and becoming more affordable with each new model. Now drivers can feel good about both the economy and the environment, while still enjoying the power and practicality of a pickup truck.
What is Bi-Fuel?
The new bi-fuel pickups are simply trucks that utilize both standard petroleum gasoline and compressed natural gas. These vehicles run cleaner and more efficiently than their gasoline counterparts. Bi-fuel options now available include:
If you think having two fuel sources in a vehicle means less cargo space, think again. For example, the GM vehicles utilize a single light-weight Type 3 tank in the bed. This leaves plenty of usable space and maximizes payload. Bi-fuel pickups still offer standard options such as two-wheel and four-wheel drive, various bed sizes, and are covered by the usual manufacturer warranties.
How Fuel Efficient Are They?
According to GM, the Silverado and Sierra have a full range of 650 miles when both the gas and CNG tanks are full. In one test, the Ford F-250 cost $100 to fill with fuel, and only $25 of that was to fill the compressed natural gas tank. CNG is also a cheaper fuel, with prices around $2 a gallon. It has lower carbon dioxide emissions and is cleaner than gasoline. CNG is gentle on both the environment and the driver’s wallet!
But Can These Trucks Get The Job Done?
Lest you think this means you are compromising power for fuel efficiency, think again. The trucks mentioned here all have 6.0 liter or higher V-8 engines, and perform just as powerfully as their gasoline contemporaries. The tanks switch between gasoline and CNG on their own, which means all you need to do is fill them up and drive. The only hitch right now is that there are less than 1,000 natural gas fueling stations in the U.S. However, as consumer embrace alternate fuel sources and the inherent financial benefits that come with them, more stations should open to meet consumer demand.
Photo credit: Don Hankins / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)