Ford says its sales of vehicles that can run on liquid propane gas (LPG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) are at record levels thanks to high gas prices, so the company is introducing even more LPG- and CNG-powered commercial vehicles.
According to a press release from Ford, the new Transit full-size van and the next-generation of its baby brother, the Transit Connect, will both be offered to fleet customers with CNG or LPG prep kits enabling them to run on the alternative fuels. In the case of the larger Transit, that prep kit will be added to the 3.7-liter V6 engine to make it capable of using either CNG or LPG. On the Transit Connect, the new-to-the-model 2.5-liter four-cylinder, with its intake-variable camshaft timing, will be available in a CNG-ready version.
Ford said there are financial and environmental benefits to making the switch to the alternative fuels for some fleets:
As gas prices continue to rise, CNG conversion can drastically lower vehicle operating costs for fleet administrators. CNG sells for an average of $2.10 per gallon, representing a significant savings over unleaded regular fuel, selling for a national average of $3.78 per gallon according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report. As the commercial vehicle market leader, Ford aims to provide sustainable solutions for a broad spectrum of its fleet customers.CNG is made by compressing natural gas, which is mainly composed of methane. It is stored and distributed in hard containers at a pressure of 2,900 to 3,600 psi. About 85 percent of the CNG used in the United States is produced domestically. Depending on application and usage, businesses can see payback for CNG/LPG systems in as little as 24 to 36 months.Another benefit of this alternative fuel: Cleaner emissions. CNG usage can result in up to 30 percent less greenhouse gas emissions according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.