While plug-in hybrids and electric cars are the latest offerings among automakers competing for the discerning American car buyer, natural gas is being used to entice truck shoppers to part with their hard-earned greenbacks.
General Motors has released pricing details on its “bi-fuel” 2013 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra HD pickup trucks. GM will be charging an $11,000 premium on both vehicles, which are powered by compressed natural gas (CNG) as well as standard gasoline. This means the bi-fuel 2013 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD, which starts at $29,100, will cost $40,100 while its more luxurious 2012 GMC Sierra twin would start at $41,095. Both prices do not include destination and handling fees. Both the 2013 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra with bi-fuel option go on sale later this week.
The GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado trucks are just the latest vehicles in GM’s fleet to utilize CNG. Last year, the automaker announced the availability of CNG for its Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana commercial vans. Rival Chrysler also announced plans to roll out this year a bi-fuel version of its Ram 2500 HD pickup. According to both automakers, customer desire to reduce fuel costs are driving, literally, this demand for natural gas vehicles. States 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.”
Automotive.com’s take: $11,000 seems a high premium to charge for bi-fuel capability on the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. But we foresee the primary buyer of such trucks will be fleets, who will amortize the costs, and truck owners who make serious use of their pickups like hauling equipment, trailers, and going offroading on a regular basis. The additional fuel economy offered by the lower-priced natural gas will, in their minds, offset the over ten grand extra price tag.
Source: General Motors/Chevrolet/GMC