Ford, GM, and Chrysler have all recently trotted out natural gas options on their full-size, heavy duty pickup. It offers fleet buyers another option for fueling up their trucks besides relying on gasoline or diesel…but it will come with a price premium. And in the case of GM’s Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500 HD trucks, that price premium is a whooping $11,000.
Republicans and anti-EV advocates like to talk about the price premium that comes with buying an electric car, and they are absolutely right. The Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt both cost roughly twice what the equivalent compact car would cost. But at the very least, the electricity used to charge up EV’s could cost you less than $2 a day.
Prices for CNG vary widely; here in Connecticut the lowest price is $1.95 a gallon equivalent, all the way up to $3.79. That’s quite the spread. In neighboring New York, CNG prices hover closer to $2.60 a gallon equivalent. GM quotes the average price of CNG as $1.89 a gallon, and says that despite the high initial price, drivers could see savings of up to $10,000 in as little as three years.
I’m…skeptical. Most fleet buyers are looking for the best bargain up front. With the GMC and Chevy 2500 CNG vehicles starting at around $40,000, that’s a lot of money to shell out. You’d have to do a lot of driving to make up the cost, even if you are saving about $2.000 per gallon.
Remember, CNG has less energy than gasoline, meaning your gas mileage WILL be lower. It’s hard to get excited about natural gas pickups when they cost SO much more. Still, I am sure GM will find at least a few customers. I just find it ironic how Republicans are such big proponents of CNG, yet CNG suffers from the same shortcomings as battery-powered vehicles; high cost, less range (though in fairness, the Chevy 2500 CNG has an extra 200 miles of range because it has both CNG AND gasoline tanks) and limited infrastructure.
For $11,000 extra, would you pick a CNG Chevy over a gas powered one?