Ford announced today that it will offer the 2014 F-150 half-ton pickup truck with the ability to run on compressed natural gas (CNG).
This is the eighth in a list of vehicles the Detroit automaker offers with the option to burn CNG since reintroducing the option in 2009 and currently the only CNG-capable half-ton pickup. Ford will offer customers the option to buy a 2014 F-150 with a 3.7-liter V6 that has been modified to burn the fuel — a $315 option. Changes that Ford will make include hardened valves, valve seats, pistons and rings.
But those modifications alone won’t be enough to enable the two-fuel setup. Owners will then need to take their truck to a “Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier” to have fuel tanks, lines, and special injectors fitted. The automaker expects this will cost between $7,500 and $9,500 depending on fuel tank capacity.
The upfront cost premium gives owners the chance to reduce fuel costs as gas prices fluctuate, which could prove valuable to fleet owners. On average, CNG sells for the equivalent of $2.11 per gallon in the U.S., although prices can drop as low as $1 per gallon in some parts of the country. According to the Energy Information Administration, the national average gas price sat just under $3.65 through last Monday.
For expects that owners will see the money spend on installing the systems returned in fuel savings in two and three years after the purchase.
Commercial vans, medium- and heavy duty pickups account for most of the rest of Ford’s CNG vehicles. The Transit Connect van and wagon may also be fitted for CNG.The auto maker says it expects to sell 15,000 natural gas-equipped vehicles this year.