Print 42 comment(s) - last by superstition.. on May 2 at 3:59 PM

Bi-fuel option adds greatly to the cost of the truck

GM officially announced that it would be offering a new bi-fuel option on its full-size GMC and Chevrolet pickup trucks back in early March of 2012. GM offered a lot of the details on the trucks that would get the option at the time, but didn't offer up any direction on pricing.
GM is now offering the official price for the bi-fuel option on its full-size trucks and it will cost $11,000 more than the base MSRP. The option allows the trucks to run on traditional gasoline as well as compressed natural gas. Buyers of the 2013 Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra 2500 HD will be able to choose the option starting Thursday, April 19.
The engine in the truck is a Vortex 6.0-liter V8 and the fuel system is designed for seamless transition between compressed natural gas and traditional fuel. When the driving range on gasoline and compressed natural gas is combined, the vehicle has a total range of more than 650 miles.
“The announcement of the bi-fuel Silverado and Sierra has been well-received among customers, which sends a clear message that businesses are looking for alternative fuel options to meet their needs,” said Ed Peper, general manager, GM Fleet and Commercial Operations.  “The addition of the full-size bi-fuel pickups to our product portfolio is part of our commitment to offer great products, innovative business solutions and an exceptional customer experience.”
The trucks will be available in standard- or long-bed versions with two- or four-wheel-drive options with extended cab models. The trucks also covered by the standard GM per year 36,000 standard mile warranty along with the five-year 100,000 mile powertrain warranty.
The vehicles are CARB certified for use in California.
“Businesses are looking for ways to control their costs while reducing vehicle emissions and becoming less dependent on fluctuating gas prices. The low cost of ownership makes these vehicles a realistic solution,” said Joyce Mattman, director, GM Commercial Product and Specialty Vehicles.  “CNG has maintained a significantly lower retail price than either gasoline or diesel. The current average price of CNG is equivalent to $1.89 per gallon of gasoline.  Customers could save $5,000 to $10,000 over a three-year period, depending on their driving habits.”

Source: GM

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Why do trucks use gas?
By quiksilvr on 4/18/2012 10:37:25 AM , Rating: 1
Shouldn't they use diesel/bio-diesel and isn't upgrading a diesel powered engine to bio-diesel a pain-free process?

They should also include hydraulic hybrid technology that currently exists on UPS trucks.

RE: Why do trucks use gas?
By gamerk2 on 4/18/2012 11:30:46 AM , Rating: 2
To be fair, with the glut of natural gas on the market, going that way actually makes a decent amount of sense. Same long term problems as oil [hard to get at, limited supply], but you can kick the can down the road for a few decades.

Still, at some point, the oil based infrastructure is going to have to be replaced by something else. I'm hoping that when that finally happens, we go toward a true renewable [hydrogren fuel cells], rather then a short term solution.

RE: Why do trucks use gas?
By FITCamaro on 4/18/2012 11:37:11 AM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately misinformation and emissions standards have contributed largely to a lack of diesel trucks in the light truck segment.

GM has a 4.5L diesel it was prepared to put in the 1500 series before they went bankrupt. Once the government took over the diesel 1500 was placed on indefinite hold. You do the math.

RE: Why do trucks use gas?
By Spuke on 4/18/2012 1:03:04 PM , Rating: 1
Just about everyone was ready with a diesel for the light duty trucks. It was the economy that killed them.

PS- Not a truck but even Honda was going to put out a diesel Accord. Saw them driving around all over the place (Honda test track nearby). Economy tanked and so did all the diesels.

RE: Why do trucks use gas?
By themelon on 4/18/2012 1:24:48 PM , Rating: 2
Ford has a 4.4L that they started building in 2009 at the same plant as the 6.7L Scorpion. They still build it but only sell it to Land Rover.

GM has been talking for 2 years now about how the Duramax 4500 is ready to go and could be brought back to life with minimal work.


RE: Why do trucks use gas?
By martyrant on 4/18/2012 12:52:08 PM , Rating: 2
You can put bio-diesel in any diesel engine; it sometimes voids a mfg warranty because they don't want that information becoming widely known. But you can even go back and forth between bio-diesel with any diesel engine as well without issues.

Watch gashole, it's on netflix.

RE: Why do trucks use gas?
By Spuke on 4/18/12, Rating: 0
RE: Why do trucks use gas?
By ezinner on 4/18/2012 2:38:54 PM , Rating: 5
Not recommended for vehicles 2007 and newer, or vehicles with water blocking fuel filters. Vehicles older than 1994 may have natural rubber fuel components which need to be changed to synthetic rubber like Viton. Biodiesel is an excellent solvent and will clean any debris from the fuel system; we recommend replacing the fuel filter prior to B99 use and changing it again if you experience low power. B99 will start gelling below 40F, we recommend blending B99 and regular diesel to 50%/50% to avoid gelling. Below 25F we recommend B20. Anti-gel additives made for diesel will have no effect on biodiesel.

RE: Why do trucks use gas?
By RU482 on 4/19/2012 12:19:54 AM , Rating: 2
We could have all kinds of cool tech in cars if being an informed consumer was a prerequisite. Imagine a hybrid that was factory tuned for the hyper miler.

Bio-diesel is a great product in a summer or southern just have to have enough brains to realize that when the temperature goes down, it's time to blend or go full dino.

RE: Why do trucks use gas?
By borismkv on 4/19/2012 1:04:14 PM , Rating: 2
Imagine a hybrid that was factory tuned for the hyper miler

Imaging a world where cars are designed to annoy the living hell out of everyone else on the road? No thanks.

RE: Why do trucks use gas?
By superstition on 4/18/2012 11:58:24 PM , Rating: 2

It's common knowledge that VW won't approve biodiesel blends at more the 5% bio because of oil dilution due to its implementation of emissions tech.

Biodiesel is great at 1-5% because it dramatically improves lubricity. However, beyond 2%, there isn't much of an improvement. Personally, I think 1.5% biodiesel should become a federal mandate, given that the wear scar of US fuel is not good enough for fuel pump longevity according to the EMA (Engine Manufacturers' Association).

But, it's just not true that current vehicles can switch to 100% bio without serious problems. Biodiesel has different properties when compared with petroleum diesel and some designs, like VW's, require that the percentage be kept low. Right now, it's unclear whether or not 10% bio will cause too much wear from oil dilution with VW's oil change timetable. That's nowhere near 100%.

RE: Why do trucks use gas?
By CharonPDX on 4/18/2012 6:46:53 PM , Rating: 2
upgrading a diesel to bio-diesel isn't "pain-free", it's not even an upgrade. By the nature of bio-diesel fuel, it can be used on any diesel engine. They function identically to the engine. (Although some old diesel engines (pre-80s) may have issues with the seals degrading faster when used with bio-diesel.)

Note that Rudolph Diesel originally used non-petroleum oil when developing diesel technology - it was only when a petroleum company paid him to create a petroleum-burning variant that petroleum-diesel took off.

RE: Why do trucks use gas?
By superstition on 4/19/2012 12:00:27 AM , Rating: 3
"By the nature of bio-diesel fuel, it can be used on any diesel engine. They function identically to the engine."

Incorrect. Biodiesel has properties that differ and there are consequences, like oil dilution in recent VWs.

No logic to this option IMO
By Beenthere on 4/18/2012 1:14:11 PM , Rating: 1
I do not see CNG as being practical especially in the U.S. Yes clean Diesel is the most practical and that's why the majority of the world uses it for cars, trucks and buses.

RE: No logic to this option IMO
By Spuke on 4/18/2012 1:37:39 PM , Rating: 2
We have tons of it, what's not practical about it?

RE: No logic to this option IMO
By WheelsCSM on 4/18/2012 1:43:13 PM , Rating: 1
The logic is that North America currently has more natural gas then it knows what to do with. Prices are some of the lowest they have been in several years. With all the recent advancements in shale gas recovery we are becoming the Saudi Arabia of natural gas. I have heard rumors of companies investigating LNG facilities on the west coast to start shipping it overseas.

Gas / Diesel on the other hand is something we have to import, and the price is projected to go no where but up.

I'm glad to see this and hope that we will see more, although with better economics. I am surprised (and disappointed) to see the payback is not better.

RE: No logic to this option IMO
By BSMonitor on 4/18/12, Rating: 0
RE: No logic to this option IMO
By Keeir on 4/18/2012 5:24:53 PM , Rating: 2
Someone else who doesn't understand how "Capitalism" work.

Capitalism is about letting suppliers and purchasers make individual descions about the allocation of resources. Capitalism does leverage the greed of suppliers to effectively and efficiently support the desires of purchasers. But other systems have difficulty reacting to the needs and desires of individual purchasers. So I guess the question is would you prefer someone who wants to make money off you supplying you goods.. or someone who doesn't really care at all.

God forbid we think about reducing production so that supply of the fuel that heats our homes lasts into the next century. Our kids' kids might appreciate it.

Ridicolous straw man. Heating "homes" can be accomplished with:
Peat Moss, Wood, Coal, Oil, Natural Gas, Electricity, Combined Cycle, Geothermal.... (and probably more I didn't list and maybe not even invented yet)

Its also possible that our Kid's Kid's would view natural gas as incredibly inefficient and backwards regardless .

Not unsimiliar to Olive Oil giving way to Whale Oil giving way to Petroleum Oil giving way to the Light Bulb. Do today we think "wow we'd be so much better off if the Roman's didn't use some much Olive Oil lamps?" or "Man, I am glad they really restricted Petroleum Oil lamps!"

RE: No logic to this option IMO
By superstition on 4/19/2012 12:04:24 AM , Rating: 2
Capitalism eats itself.

Business wants monopoly/cartel control.
Business buys politicians.
Competition withers.
Reformers are called communists.

rinse repeat

RE: No logic to this option IMO
By ppardee on 4/19/2012 4:04:05 PM , Rating: 2
Right. That's why the civilized world has survived quite well - even thrived - with a capitalist system.

Let's look at the current communist countries shall we? China, Cuba, Laos, Vietnam.

China's the oldest at just over 60 years and they've murdered millions of their own people and has a per captia GDP of just over $8,000.

Cuba also had a bloody revolution and is so wonderful that people are willing to float in rafts made of Popsicle sticks in shark-infested waters to get away from it. Per capita GDP is about $5000.

Laos - Hmong genocide, numerous human rights volations, Per captia GDP of a whopping $1003.71

Vietnam - Probably the only communist country that hasn't participated in the wholesale slaughter of its population, but they're none too stable. Their 1975 constitution was replaced in 1992, so they are still young. Per Captia GDP is about $1300.

Compare that to the US (oldest constitutional republic on the face of the planet, BTW). We haven't taken to killing off our dissidents (except, you know, those who aren't in the country. Obama is fine with killing American citizens without a trial as long as they're not in the US, and has backed up his beliefs with action!) And our per captia GDP is about $48,000.

Yep, that capitalism garbage doesn't work at all! If capitalism eats itself, communism eats its people?

By superstition on 5/2/2012 3:59:26 PM , Rating: 2
Your analysis is way off. First of all, we don't have capitalism in the USA. We have a form of socialism with capitalism as a veneer, a pretense. Secondly, the countries you listed as being communist are not communist.

RE: No logic to this option IMO
By ppardee on 4/19/2012 3:43:35 PM , Rating: 2
The market is self-regulating. Once supplies run low, prices will increase. And just like whale oil, when natural gas/petroleum become scarce (and thus expensive) alternatives will be found. Until then, someone has to make money to support the socialists and environmentalists. God knows they can't make a dime unless they're robbing our kid's kids via taxes and regulations.

RE: No logic to this option IMO
By Ringold on 4/19/2012 10:18:03 PM , Rating: 2
God forbid we think about reducing production so that supply of the fuel that heats our homes lasts into the next century. Our kids' kids might appreciate it.

Sounds like we've got 100+ years worth of supply, assuming we dont restrict production. How long is that really necessary? IMO, if we haven't educated ourselves enough to deploy nuclear or developed fusion by the time our natural gas supply even remotely comes close to running out, we no longer deserve to exist as a species. Best for our planet to nuke itself, so that some other more worthy sentient species can go forth and conquer the galaxy from another planet, with a society that's not bent on limiting itself in to oblivion, which is pretty much the 'green' position: absolutely minimal, or zero, impact on the "natural" environment.

Also, people extract the gas to make money, obviously. What you don't point out though, thanks to your liberal blinders, is the other side of the global energy market equation: more production leads to lower prices, ceteris paribus, which allows those not so wealthy to, perhaps, trade up from burning dried dung or wood indoors to natural gas or another, cleaner, less lung-destroying source of heat. Or, perhaps it makes electricity cheaper from their gas-fired powerplant. Etc. Yes, focus on the money-making half the equation, ignore the human development side.

RE: No logic to this option IMO
By FITCamaro on 4/19/2012 9:22:29 AM , Rating: 1
We only have to import gas and diesel because our government refuses to allow us to develop our resources and build refining capacity to get it to market. Oil dropped like $20 when Bush and the Senate opened up US coasts for exploration and drilling. Then Obama came into office and took it all back. The administration talks about how we're drilling more than ever before but its all on private lands with leases granted under the Bush administration. Meanwhile they've been making more and more land federal land that they don't allow any development on.

RE: No logic to this option IMO
By Mint on 4/20/2012 1:04:49 PM , Rating: 3
You have a pathetic understanding of how the oil market works.

Oil didn't drop because Bush opened up coasts. It takes years to explore and extract oil, and it would be just a tiny amount of world production anyway. Production went up way more than expected during Obama's years in office, even if his policies had nothing to do with it, yet prices went up to over $100/barrel.

Oil dropped at the end of Bush's term because the economy tanked and thus demand went down. How clueless do you have to be to not know this?

On top of that, OPEC determines what the oil price is because they're not a free market. After demand went down, they reduced production to bring the price back up. If the US magically increased oil production by 20% in a big surprise, prices could come down to maybe $60/barrel again, but then OPEC could reduce their production by 3% and you're back to square one.

Better hope
By FITCamaro on 4/18/2012 11:50:04 AM , Rating: 2
For that $10,000 in savings if you want to even come close to recouping the cost of adding on this system.

RE: Better hope
By retrospooty on 4/18/2012 12:25:14 PM , Rating: 1
IF you happen to manage a McDonalds or Burger King and have access to alot of free grease it would make sense ;)

RE: Better hope
By themelon on 4/18/2012 1:26:35 PM , Rating: 2
This is not a bio diesel option. All the free grease in the world will not reduce your fuel costs in this 11k option.

RE: Better hope
By retrospooty on 4/18/2012 4:09:47 PM , Rating: 2
LOL... Yup, I missed that entirely. I cant imagine any reason to buy this upgrade... Unless you somehow get super cheap or free Natural Gas.

RE: Better hope
By FITCamaro on 4/18/2012 4:50:51 PM , Rating: 2
Natural gas is cheap. I was pointing out that the savings vs. gasoline have to be pretty wild in order to even break even on this option.

RE: Better hope
By Keeir on 4/18/2012 5:01:07 PM , Rating: 2
While this article mentions "1.89" a gallon gasoline, if you consume large amounts of natural gas (like say a fleet operator with 10-100 of these trucks) you can buy contracts for less than 1.00 per 33.4 kWh of Natural Gas. (IE, Wholesale prices)

Now, if your the same fleet operaor, it would not be unreasonable to put ~20,000 miles on your most used trucks. Thats ~1,000 gallons of gasoline a year. Saving 2-3 dollars a gallon puts your savings over a 3 year period right where they place it. So, I think it really comes down to maintainence and usable life. With a projected usuable life of 200,000 or so, if the maintaince is not appeciably more, this would appear to probably have significant net present value for fleet operators...

RE: Better hope
By JediJeb on 4/18/2012 8:55:04 PM , Rating: 2
Now, if your the same fleet operaor, it would not be unreasonable to put ~20,000 miles on your most used trucks.

We easily put 30,000 to 40,000 miles per year on our trucks. Many of our routes are 300+ miles per day. This might be a better option for us than moving to the small vans we have changed to from full sized pickups.

RE: Better hope
By Keeir on 4/18/2012 9:09:12 PM , Rating: 2
I expect there are many fleets with similiar usages.

I think the issue won't be the price of the option, but the price of installing/maintaining a Natural Gas refilling station. Without numbers in front of me, I think from past cases "small" time operators would have difficulty justifying that expense and its relatively rare for there to be Natural Gas refilling areas pre-established convient to the high mileage fleets.

Versus what I pay today for Natural Gas delivered to my home versus today's pump price, such an option would be worth ~10,000-15,000 to me in this type of truck. So it seems a reasonable option price.... if I can spread the refilling station's cost out over multiple trucks and maybe multiple generations.

RE: Better hope
By superstition on 4/19/2012 12:02:33 AM , Rating: 2
A van is more aerodynamic than a truck, right? So, wouldn't a natural gas powered van deliver the most savings?

Not worth it
By talikarni on 4/18/2012 4:49:01 PM , Rating: 2
CNG is simply not worth it.
Using a 2008 Honda LX (gasoline) vs GX (CNG) as comparison since numbers have been around for a while.

Gas: 15 gallons, $4/gal, 36 mpg hwy
$60 fill up = 540 miles, $0.111 per mile

CNG: 15 gallons (GGE: Gas Gallon Equivalent), $2/GGE, 33 mpg (mpgge) hwy
$30 fill up = 495 miles, $0.06 per mile

Big cons: 20% less power (hp) vs gasoline, slower acceleration, CNG costs $5,000-15,000 more per vehicle on original purchase price.

At $10,000 additional cost of purchase price, you would need to drive it for 510,000 miles to break even on the "fuel savings" ($10,000 @ 5.1 cents per gallon difference). If your state has a $2-5,000 tax break, that is still at least 250,000-400,000 miles. That means you do not start "saving" until you pass that high mileage mark provided CNG stays around $2 GGE. Considering Obama appointed Soros-linked immigration adviser to lead Natural Gas Council, we can expect Natural Gas prices to start skyrocketing any day now, and stay high, just like gasoline and diesel.

RE: Not worth it
By FishTankX on 4/18/2012 6:40:59 PM , Rating: 2
Your calculations are confusing. You say that there's an 5 cent per mile difference, no?

Wouldn't that mean that you'd break even at 200,000 miles?

200,000*5=1,000,000/100= $10,000

If the price is only 5k more you start saving at 100k. I'd worried if a civic didn't make it there.

Also, i've heard that natural gas powered engines have a freakishly long life.
( Excuse the source, but it's a valid point that might help your car reach that savings point.

Only caveat is that the extremely expensive CNG cylinder in your car might conk out before your car does, necessitating replacement and once again putting a dent in your savings, but I don't have hard figures on that cost.

RE: Not worth it
By JediJeb on 4/18/2012 9:10:57 PM , Rating: 2
Gas: 15 gallons, $4/gal, 36 mpg hwy $60 fill up = 540 miles, $0.111 per mile

CNG: 15 gallons (GGE: Gas Gallon Equivalent), $2/GGE, 33 mpg (mpgge) hwy $30 fill up = 495 miles, $0.06 per mile

($10,000 @ 5.1 cents per gallon difference)

How can a difference of $2 per gallon and a 3mpg difference work out to a 5 cent difference in fuel prices?

100,000 miles / 36mpg = 2777.7 gallons of fuel consumed on gasoline or $11110.8

100,000 miles / 33mpg = 3030.3 gallons of fuel consumed on CNG or $6060.6

11110.8 - 6060.6 = $5050.2 savings, so if it is a $5000 option it is break even at 100,000 miles, which for most companies is only a few years. (At my company it is maybe 3 years) Most of our fleet vehicles get retired somewhere around 250,000 to 300,000 miles.

RE: Not worth it
By Mint on 4/19/2012 11:09:26 AM , Rating: 2
That's a major math fail.

I know you meant 5.1c/mile instead of 5.1c/gallon, but that works out to under 200k miles for $10k.

Also, $2/GGE is on the high side. Commercial/residential price is $8-10 per thousand cubic feet:
$1.20/GGE is a more fair price.

Anyway, CNG's biggest problem is infrastructure.

By RU482 on 4/19/2012 12:23:39 AM , Rating: 2
Aside from the fact that these things cost bou-cou bucks to engineer....the reason this option costs $10 is because:
a) they are the only game in town
b) they have a captive consumer base in the sunshine state
c) if a three year break even is's a bargain for fleet folks who can fully depreciate the expense in the first 3 yrs, then reap the benefits after

RE: cost
By RU482 on 4/19/2012 12:24:16 AM , Rating: 2
Doh...$10k, not $10

By overlandpark4me on 4/19/2012 12:40:30 AM , Rating: 2
The problem is the pricing around the country. Kansas City is a $1.69 GGE, which is pretty good. Cheyenne, Wy 1.31. Real good. Colorado Springs. 4.50. Get the Vaseline.

Subject here
By kjboughton on 4/18/12, Rating: 0
"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein

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