Ford F-150 Goes CNG

Although the price of gasoline is still rather inexpensive—according to GasBuddy.com, the national average price of a gallon of regular stands at $2.62 this week, though the petroleum analysis firm points out that the price of gas is in the process of climbing—there is another option that remains (1) less expensive and (2) helps reduce emissions.

Although the price of gasoline is still rather inexpensive—according to GasBuddy.com, the national average price of a gallon of regular stands at $2.62 this week, though the petroleum analysis firm points out that the price of gas is in the process of climbing—there is another option that remains (1) less expensive and (2) helps reduce emissions.

It’s compressed natural gas (CNG).

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And this past Monday Ford announced that it is offering the 2016 F-150 with a gaseous-fuel prep package such that 5.0-liter, V8 half-tons will be able to run on CNG or propane.

Jon Coleman, Ford fleet sustainability and technology manager (realize that this is primarily of interest to those who have fleets of pickups), said, “We surveyed customers likely to use natural gas or propane, and 72% told us they want to have these alternative-fuel capabilities available on F-150 with the 5.0-liter V8 engine. We expect the gaseous-fuel prep package will be even more popular than it was on the 2014 F-150 with the 3.7-liter V6 engine, given the capability of the 2016 F-150 5.0-liter V8.”

At the factory, the intake and exhaust valves and valve seats are upgraded to accommodate the gaseous fuel. Then the truck owner selects to have additional work—fuel tanks, fuel lines, and unique fuel injectors installed—done by a “Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier.”

This upfitting runs from about $7,500 to $9,500, depending largely on the tank size.

Given that premium, that’s probably why this is something that fleet operators do rather than the guy next door.

According to Ford, as of April 30, the average price of CNG was $2.11 (that is, the gasoline equivalent was). What’s more, it “is as low as $1 in some parts of the country.”

$1!

Consequently, the operating costs can be lower than gasoline (or diesel) powered vehicles.

Last year Ford sold 16,821 commercial vehicles with CNG/propane prep (in addition to F-150s, it offers Super Duty, Transit and Transit Connect). It anticipates greater sales this year.

The vehicles offered are:

  • 2016 F-150 with 5.0-liter Ti-VCT V8
  • F-250 and F-350 Super Duty pickup with 6.2-liter V8
  • F-350 to F-550 Super Duty chassis cab with 6.2-liter V8 or 6.8-liter V10
  • F-650 and F-750 chassis cab with 6.8-liter V10
  • F-53 and F-59 stripped chassis with 6.8-liter V10
  • Transit Connect van and wagon with 2.5-liter I-4
  • Transit van, wagon, cutaway and chassis cab with 3.7-liter Ti-VCT V6
  • E-Series cutaway and stripped chassis with 5.4-liter V8 or 6.8-liter V10

Notably, in 2010, the only vehicle that was offered with the factory prep was the E-Series van—which is in the process of being phased out (through April Ford sold 18,710 E-Series vehicles in 2015, down 54.2% from the same period in 2014).