In 2013, General Motors will be releasing two pickup trucks that run on compressed natural gas (CNG). The move comes in response to fleets all over the nation, and Ohio, converting to natural gas as a fuel source in part thanks to its low cost. The development of Ohio’s Utica Shale and shale formations across the country are expanding our natural gas reserves exponentially, and it is a large part of why more and more companies and fleets are switching to the clean-burning, abundant fuel source.
Next year, GM will roll out its Chevrolet Silverado Heavy Duty and GMC Sierra 1500HD bi-fuel pickup trucks. Both vehicles feature a Vortec 6.0-liter V8 engine that runs on gasoline and CNG. The trucks hold 17 gas-gall-equivalent of CNG and 26 gallons of gasoline, providing a 650-mile range.
The Youngstown Business Journal explains how the “bi-fuel” system works:
A truck will automatically run on CNG until the supply is exhausted, “then automatically switch over to gasoline,” says Mike Jones, GM fleet and commercial product manager. Drivers can also manually switch to gasoline while CNG remains in the tank. He admits there’s a slight drop in horsepower when a truck runs on CNG – 360 horsepower with gasoline, 301 with CNG – but Jones says the savings makes these vehicles worth the investment. (CNG Fuels New Pickup Trucks GM Rolls Out, 12/17/12)
Switching to CNG is ideal for fleets. Many fleets in Ohio have taken notice and made the switch – the Stark Area Regional Transit Authority has set plans to switch their vehicles to natural gas, and, back in April, Smith Dairy announced they would convert their entire fleet of large diesel power trucks to run on CNG. The company recently broke ground on a $1.5 million fueling station at their headquarters in Orrville.
Starting next year, TravelCenters of America LLC, a company based in Cleveland, reported in June that they hope to add at least 200 CNG fuel pumps at its truck stops across the nation through a partnership with Shell.
The trend is taking place in other regions of the country as well. In April, Frito-Lay announced it would add 67 trucks that would run on CNG to its fleet. Other national companies making the switch include Sunny Delight and AT&T.
Here is a question to ponder. We now have companies nationwide spending billions preparing for natural gas from our tri-state area. This production relies on fracing. Will we be able to keep the federal epa from regulating fracing to the point it becomes too expensive to use? Do we have enough people in government smart enough to ignore the hype from the anti-fossil fuel faction and will they be willing to speak up on the excellent safety record the gas and oil companies have in the U.S.? We have a big problem in this country in that the general public rarely hears both sides of the story. Dimock PA is a perfect example. Claims of contamination were broadcast far and wide, the truth was whispered locally. Happy New Year to all.