Make Petroleum Directly Compete

Sunday, October 20, 2013

For true fuel competition, having different kinds of vehicles — electric, compressed natural gas (CNG), diesel, etc. — is not good enough. We need the competition to take place within a single vehicle. For example, a GEM car is capable of burning gasoline, ethanol, and methanol in any proportion. With a car like that, every time you arrive at the filling station, those different fuels are pitted against each other to compete for your fuel dollar. That is real fuel competition.

The 2014 Ford F-150 truck does just that. It can burn CNG or gasoline, depending on which fuel is available at the time, and at what price. That's fuel competition. I don't mean to sound insatiable, but Ford already makes the F-150 in a flex fuel version, which does not require any new parts, which means they could have a truck that would give us three choices in fuel: Ethanol or CNG or gasoline, depending on what's available and at what price. That would be even better fuel competition, but at least they're heading in the right direction. Watch a YouTube video about the F-150 CNG truck by clicking here.

At, they say this about Ford's new truck:

No matter what fuel it's using, the F-150 CNG engine is designed to feel identical when running. During our quick drive over nasty dirt roads through an East Texas ranch where we punished the two-wheel-drive up and down hills and river washes, we found absolutely no performance difference between either fuel. We’re told the added range with the CNG tank in the bed can mean running up to 800 or 900 miles between fill-ups. Unlike some systems out there, Altech-Eco allows the driver to decide which fuel they want to run on with a small manual switch on the side of the dash. The only other way to identify the truck from a "normal" F-150 (when sitting inside the truck) is by identifying an extra fuel gauge where the 4x4 switch would be next to the radio. 

Forbes says:

Though customers will pay about $10,000 more to buy the CNG version of the F-150, they could see a payback on their investment in as little as two to three years because natural gas prices are so much cheaper than gasoline or diesel fuel, according to Kevin Koswick, Ford’s director of North American fleet, leasing and remarketing operations...

CNG sells for an average of $2.11 per gallon of gasoline equivalent, and as little as $1 in some parts of the country. The national average for unleaded regular gasoline is $3.66.

For fleet owners, that can make a huge difference in their business. AT&T for example, is deploying 15,000 alternative-fuel vehicles by the end of 2018, including 650 F-350 chassis cabs with CNG engines it purchased recently from Ford. Those alt-fuel vehicles have helped AT&T avoid purchasing 7.7 million gallons of gasoline over the past five years, and reduce the company’s CO2 emissions, said Jerome Webber, AT&T’s vice president of global fleet operations.

Here's more information on the truck from Ford

Along the same lines, General Motors announced its 2015 Chevrolet Impala will be offered with bi-fuel capability. Drivers will be able to choose their fuel on any given day. They can fill up with ordinary gasoline or compressed natural gas (CNG). It'll have a range of 350 miles on gas, and/or 150 miles on CNG. Read more about the car here.

Again, the Impala also comes in a flex fuel version so this could be a tri-fuel vehicle instead of merely bi-fuel without adding any more weight to the car or any more cost.

Some people are thinking, "If we have these things coming out, do we really need an Open Fuel Standard bill? Isn't it happening on its own?"

The answer is: The Open Fuel Standard bill will make it happen much faster. Speed is a crucial element here. Click here to find out why fuel competition is so urgent.


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