Having worked for several different landscaping and construction companies, I got used to driving gas guzzling commercial vehicles. Though it shames me a bit to admit it (not really) I used to drive those vehicles with little regard to fuel economy or the fact that they were somebody else’s property. Often enough I broke the speed limit, stomped the gas just to hear the engine rumble, and frequently chirped the tires going around corners. I remember one particular day where I calculated getting just 6 mpg in my boss’s Chevy Silverado.
I’ve since grown up, and out, of acting like an inconsiderate bum, but even so, there are plenty of heavy duty, gas guzzling commercial vehicles out there. Weening fleet customers off of oil and onto a cleaner burning fuel would go a long way towards cutting our dependence on oil. Today, GM announced that for the first time, fleet customers will be able to buy commercial vehicles that run on either Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) or Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).
Many a debate has been held over the environmental benefits of using CNG or LPG as opposed to burning oil. Personally, I am of the opinion that as long as we aren’t using imported oil, it is an improvement. The U.S. has huge reserves of natural gas, though many are in environmentally protected areas. CNG and LPG vehicles also don’t get as good mileage as gas or diesel vehicles, though there is plenty of proof that even burning more LPG still has a net decrease in the amount of emissions put into the air.
Even so, GM, in its continuing efforts to diversify and improve its green image, is offering both CNG and LPG versions of its full-size vans. These vans, the Chevy Express and GMC Savanna, will come from the factory with fully-integrated CNG or LPG systems and maintain their 5-year/100,000 mile warranty. No price has been set, but the vehicles will be available for purchase starting in 2011.
Source: Green Car Advisor | Image: GM