Ford has announced that it will be offering a natural gas version of its most popular vehicle in America, the F-150 on 2014 models.
The announcement makes Ford the first Detroit automaker to offer the natural gas option in a light duty pickup truck. Currently, the only pickups by Ford, Chrysler and General Motors with natural gas are their heavy duty trucks.
Ford will be making the natural gas option on their new 2014 F-150s that have the 3.7 liter V-6 engine. In order to function on natural gas rather than gasoline, the trucks will be modified from a traditional gasoline powered engine to have factory-installed valves, pistons and rings that are specially designed to handle both natural gas as well as gasoline. The natural gas option to the engine will cost an additional $315 to the cost of vehicle installation.
While the cost may seem reasonable, buyers need to be aware that in order to complete the installation they will have to pay a factory approved installer to put in new fuel tanks, lines and injectors. The cost for this installation will be between $7,500 and $9,500.
While natural gas has been an option for fuel in vehicles in decades, it has not been a practical and cost-effective alternative until recently because of the high cost of natural gas and a lack of readily available refueling stations. However, in recent years while gas prices have been steadily rising under the Obama administration, America has been experiencing a boom in natural gas production, particularly in the western states such as Colorado, Wyoming and North Dakota.
New technologies have allowed energy producers to capture the natural gas more cheaply than in previous years, enabling the cost to come down greatly. Additionally, with U.S. energy policy currently focused on green energies, natural gas powered vehicles are being treated as somewhat as a status symbol among environmentalists. Additionally many government entities are converting either their entire or a portion of their fleets to natural gas, which is creating a market for fueling stations and bringing the cost down still further.
Colorado’s Weld County, which is larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined, is the state’s largest energy producer. Last year the county announced the opening of the first of four Compressed Natural Gas fueling stations that is open to the public.
In announcing the opening of the station county commissioners said their goal is to create an alternative fuel corridor between Colorado and Wyoming.
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