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CNG spreading to 'regular customers,' Oklahoma dealer says

The Ford F-150 designed to run on compressed natural gas has broader appeal than previous CNG vehicles, auto dealers say.
BY JAY F. MARKS Modified: February 14, 2014 at 12:00 pm •  Published: February 13, 2014

Compressed natural gas isn’t just for fleets anymore.

More “regular customers” are interested in a cheaper alternative to gasoline, said Jeff Caldwell, commercial accounts manager at Reynolds Ford in Norman, especially since tax credits can make the switch more affordable.

“It pays for itself pretty quick,” he said.

Justin Steckman, general manager of Heartland CNG Conversions, said the new CNG-ready Ford F-150 pickup with a 3.6-liter, V6 engine gets as much as 28 mpg if conditions are right.

“It’s a phenomenal little engine. Not enough people know about it,” he said. “It’s perfect for someone who needs a truck that doesn’t have to pull heavy weights.”

Lower fuel mileage

The truck, which can be seamlessly converted to run on CNG without affecting the warranty, is perfect for city commuters looking to save money on fuel, Steckman said.

He said other F-150s, like the one he drives, get about 19 mpg.

“Oklahomans need to know about it,” Steckman said. “It’s getting better gas mileage on CNG.”

The F-150 with the gaseous prep package, which makes it easier to convert to CNG, will be produced through August, Caldwell said. Ford is retooling its entire vehicle line for 2015. The gaseous prep engine is expected to be in next year’s Transit van, but not any Ford pickups.

This year’s F-150s, which are equipped in the factory with upgraded components designed for handling natural gas, are available by special order from any Ford dealership nationwide. The $315 upgrade includes hardened intake and exhaust valves and feeds along with specially designed pistons and piston rings.

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