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Drivers aren’t picking up on natural gas-powered F-150
Fuel Fix ^ | April 16, 2014 | Ryan Holeywell

Posted on 04/16/2014 1:38:11 PM PDT by thackney

When Ford announced last summer it would sell a version of its F-150 pickup specially made to run on natural gas, many saw it as a watershed moment.

Few light-duty vehicles used by everyday consumers are available in a natural gas configuration. Suddenly, the most popular model in America’s best-selling line of vehicles would come in a version that could run on the relatively cheap, clean fuel.

But early sales numbers show that the public isn’t exactly clamoring for an F-150 powered by compressed natural gas. Ford readies the trucks for CNG conversion on the assembly line, and contractors later perform the conversion by special customer order.

Since sales began in December, just over 200 of the CNG-prepped trucks have been sold.

Ford officials say they aren’t worried.

“The first year is always a bit challenging because it’s new to everyone who is looking at it,” said Jon Coleman, Ford fleet sustainability and technology manager. “Once we get established in the market, then we’ll see the sales pick up substantially.”

Coleman said the third-party modifiers that convert the vehicles only began their work in the last few months, so he doesn’t view the figures as especially low.

“Having that number of orders this early on, we think, is a fairly good endorsement,” he said.

Analysts aren’t as upbeat about the numbers, but they say that from a business perspective, it might not matter for Ford.

“You’re talking small numbers when in the U.S., 16 million vehicles could be sold this year,” said Christian Mayes, an analyst with Edward Jones Equity Research, referring to total projected car and truck sales in 2014. “It’s pretty niche.”

Still, the experience with CNG-ready F-150s isn’t necessarily a dud. Mayes said Ford doesn’t have to use many resources to produce CNG-ready trucks, nor does it have to do the heavy lifting of conversion.

Essentially, the CNG-ready F-150 is giving Ford the chance to test the waters with alternative fuel vehicles — and get some good publicity — without much cost or risk.

“It’s not going to move the needle much for Ford, but it’s about giving customers choice,” Mayes said.

Last year, Ford announced that its 2014 F-150 trucks would come in two options beyond the typical gasoline model: one that runs on natural gas and another that can run on natural gas or gasoline.

Natural gas is less expensive and produces fewer polluting emissions. Ford’s move was significant, since at the time, U.S. automakers geared most of their CNG-ready vehicles toward heavier-duty use. A version of the Honda Civic was the only natural gas-fueled personal passenger car available for sale directly to U.S. customers.

For the F-150, Ford produces a vehicle that has engine components prepped to run on CNG, and then arranges to hand the trucks over to third-party modifiers to do the nuts and bolts of the conversions.

Because gasoline is a liquid, it naturally lubricates the engine it powers. CNG is a gas, so that lubrication doesn’t occur and the engine runs hotter. Ford’s CNG-prepped vehicles take that into consideration and are made with more heat- tolerant engines, said Paul Shaffer, managing director for the Dallas location of Westport, one of Ford’s largest modifiers.

Through the dealer

Although vehicles converted to run on compressed natural gas have been in commercial fleets for years, Ford’s new system is significant for a couple of reasons.

The whole transaction occurs through the dealer. Moreover, Ford honors warranties for F-150s converted to CNG by its approved modifiers, which isn’t always the case with CNG conversions.

This one-step system for purchasers appeals to Cheritta Johnson, assistant director of fleet services for the city of Dallas, which recently ordered 65 of the new F-150s.

“You don’t have to deal with two different entities if it breaks down,” Johnson said.

Dave Hurst, principal research analyst at Navigant, said the consumer market for CNG vehicles in the U.S. isn’t likely to grow soon. Only about 1,900 consumer-level CNG vehicles will be sold this year, he predicted.

29,000 vehicles

By contrast, he said, fleets may buy 29,000 CNG-powered vehicles this year, mostly heavier duty trucks like Ford’s F-250 and F-350.

He said part of the reason CNG demand isn’t taking off is that fuel economy for gasoline-powered vehicles is improving. Mayes said the aluminum body Ford is introducing on the 2015 F-150 is far more significant than this year’s natural gas model. The aluminum reduces the vehicle’s weight and makes it the most fuel-efficient F-150 yet.

Every step taken to improve the fuel efficiency of gasoline-powered vehicles reduces the appeal of the more costly CNG vehicles.

According to Ford, an F-150 Regular Cab 4×2 with a 3.7 liter V6 engine starts at $24,445. The prepping option adds another $315. Converting it to run on CNG – which involves new fuel tanks, fuel lines and fuel injectors – bumps the price tag by $7,500 to $9,500.

Compressed natural gas costs about $1.25 less per equivalent gallon of gasoline, according to Energy Department figures. Even with that difference, Ford acknowledges that only higher-mileage drivers are likely to see long-term savings if they switch to CNG.

“The more fuel you use, the more the economics makes sense,” Coleman said.

Drivers also face the challenge of finding places to fill up. Only 686 CNG pumping stations are available to the public nationwide, according to the Energy Department. Texas has 41. Shaffer, of Westport, said most of his customers are fleet operators, because they have more predictable routes and know they’ll have access to CNG infrastructure – often at private company facilities.

“We understand this will mostly be a fleet vehicle,” Ford spokesman Nik Ciccone said, “but it’s also a way to test the waters with consumers.”


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: cng; energy; f150; naturalgas
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1 posted on 04/16/2014 1:38:11 PM PDT by thackney
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To: thackney
I can't imagine why people wouldn't flock to this vehicle, what with the thousands of natural gas filling stations we have located all around the country....

...oh wait...

Never mind...

2 posted on 04/16/2014 1:40:34 PM PDT by WayneS (Help Control Politician Overpopulation - Spay or Neuter Your Senator or Congressman Today!)
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To: thackney

Where would I be able to fill up?


3 posted on 04/16/2014 1:41:07 PM PDT by Darren McCarty (Abortion - legalized murder for convenience)
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To: thackney

Can you lay a 4X8 sheet of plywood flat in the back ? if not it is a useless P/u in my book


4 posted on 04/16/2014 1:41:23 PM PDT by al baby (Hi MomÂ… I was refereeing to Obama)
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To: thackney
Drivers also face the challenge of finding places to fill up.

That's the main problem....................

5 posted on 04/16/2014 1:41:43 PM PDT by Red Badger (LIberal is an oxymoron......................)
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To: WayneS

I have natural gas piped to my house. Add a compressor and I would have more convenience than the gasoline engine for daily use.


6 posted on 04/16/2014 1:42:01 PM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: thackney

make it run on methane and use these to fuel it..

http://www.outsideonline.com/news-from-the-field/Cow-Fartpacks-Are-Here.html?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=facebookpost

as close to unicorns and skittle farts as your gonna get.


7 posted on 04/16/2014 1:42:42 PM PDT by cableguymn (It's time for a second political party.)
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To: al baby
Loss of space typical of a large tool box.


8 posted on 04/16/2014 1:43:51 PM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: thackney
Old Red just wants to "pickup" some plain old unadulterated gasoline!

9 posted on 04/16/2014 1:45:08 PM PDT by Repeal The 17th (We have met the enemy and he is us.)
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To: thackney
Ford used to offer CNG Econolines. Chrysler had some CNG Vans too.

The vans tend to have more room underneath and between the frame rails for the "gas" tanks.

10 posted on 04/16/2014 1:46:00 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: cableguymn

Natural Gas is methane.


11 posted on 04/16/2014 1:46:03 PM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Repeal The 17th

More vehicles running on Natural Gas means less demand by others for Old Red’s gasoline.


12 posted on 04/16/2014 1:47:08 PM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: thackney

That’s a good point.

I do not have gas service at my home, but those who do have it might be able to make use of a nat-gas-fueled vehicle; as long as they didn’t need to take any long trips; and if it didn’t cost $10,000 more than a comparable gasoline-fueled model.


13 posted on 04/16/2014 1:47:27 PM PDT by WayneS (Help Control Politician Overpopulation - Spay or Neuter Your Senator or Congressman Today!)
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To: thackney

The article isn’t clear, so are these dual fuel trucks or CNG only?

For consumer use, dual fuel trucks would probably sell much better than CNG only trucks. CNG only are most appropriate for fleet use, as they require a special filling station be installed. For home use, you can put one in at home, but would like the ability to switch to gasoline when on the road.

I’ve see dual gasoline/propane conversions, but I’m not sure if it’s even possible for a gasoline/CNG conversion.


14 posted on 04/16/2014 1:47:43 PM PDT by Yo-Yo (Is the /sarc tag really necessary?)
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To: thackney

Drivers also face the challenge of finding places to fill up.


It’s the only part of this article that really matters. Once that changes, more people will use it.


15 posted on 04/16/2014 1:47:55 PM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: WayneS

Did you ever hear about my storing gasoline thread?


16 posted on 04/16/2014 1:48:35 PM PDT by al baby (Hi MomÂ… I was refereeing to Obama)
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To: al baby

Can you lay a 4X8 sheet of plywood flat in the back ?


HAHAHA! That’s my litmus test as well. :-)


17 posted on 04/16/2014 1:48:35 PM PDT by cuban leaf
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To: thackney

You are always the optimist.
OK; Everybody; Go buy a natural gas vehicle; Do it today!
Do it for Old Red!


18 posted on 04/16/2014 1:50:30 PM PDT by Repeal The 17th (We have met the enemy and he is us.)
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To: thackney
I have natural gas piped to my house. Add a compressor and I would have more convenience than the gasoline engine for daily use.

Until government notices that your doing it this way means it gets no fuel taxes off you.

19 posted on 04/16/2014 1:51:46 PM PDT by PapaBear3625 (You don't notice it's a police state until the police come for you.)
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To: thackney

“$1.25 less per equivalent gallon of gasoline”

And the lack of BTU’s make up the rest. Just not as much
bang for the buck as gasoline and I mean real gas not that
10% alcohol crap.


20 posted on 04/16/2014 1:52:02 PM PDT by Slambat
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To: thackney

Not really, because cross-bed toolboxes typically clear the bed by at least a few inches, so you can still lay in 4x8 sheets of stuff. This blocks the front 18” or so of the bed. Shouldn’t be too hard to come up with a design that clears the bottom 6” or so of the bed, assuming they’re not morons in the first place, but if they’re not, why would they do this?


21 posted on 04/16/2014 1:53:03 PM PDT by Still Thinking (Freedom is NOT a loophole!)
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To: WayneS

There’s 2 where I live...card-lock style.

I’m an advocate for converting fleets to NG...but I would hesitate before buying one for personal use, because of filling availability.


22 posted on 04/16/2014 1:54:25 PM PDT by lacrew (Mr. Soetoro, we regret to inform you that your race card is over the credit limit.)
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To: thackney
Only 686 CNG pumping stations are available to the public nationwide, according to the Energy Department.

That's hard to believe. We have a place here in our little community. You can also get a home fueling station installed which takes the natural gas coming into your home (for those of you with gas) and compresses it into your tank. A neighbor has one of those installed and says it works well.

The article doesn't say if the conversion is to a CNG only vehicle, or to a dual-fuel vehicle. If the later - definitely something I'd be interested in checking out when my current truck dies.

23 posted on 04/16/2014 1:54:50 PM PDT by tahoeblue
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To: thackney

I knew a guy that had a pickup converted to propane back in the 80’s and he just loved it. I would think this would be a lot better.


24 posted on 04/16/2014 1:57:48 PM PDT by Lurkina.n.Learnin
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To: cuban leaf
Drivers also face the challenge of finding places to fill up.


Current stations. More on the way.

25 posted on 04/16/2014 2:12:00 PM PDT by TangoLimaSierra (To win the country back, we need to be as mean as the libs say we are.)
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To: WayneS
as long as they didn’t need to take any long trips

Natural Gas Fuelings stations are buying built on the Highway System. LNG as well as CNG.

America’s Natural Gas Highway
http://www.cleanenergyfuels.com/pdf/CE-OS.ANGH.111912.pdf

26 posted on 04/16/2014 2:12:26 PM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: WayneS
There are filling stations for CNG around; just not as prevalent as gas and diesel. Often they are a bit off the beaten path. Local gas companies often have filling stations. Others are popping up, I have run across 3 in the Milwaukee area. Also you can buy one to be hooked up at your home - I have no idea of the cost. Also some new car dealers have filling stations.

If I was in the market I'd consider it, but I think if I was getting a new pickup I'd rather go with diesel and convert it to run on used vegie oil (conversion kit was $800 last time I looked). If I was in the market for new a SUV I would be more inclined to go CNG.

27 posted on 04/16/2014 2:13:40 PM PDT by logic101.net (How many more children must die on the altar of gun control?)
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To: Yo-Yo
The article isn’t clear, so are these dual fuel trucks or CNG only?

From the article:

Last year, Ford announced that its 2014 F-150 trucks would come in two options beyond the typical gasoline model: one that runs on natural gas and another that can run on natural gas or gasoline.

So Gasoline, CNG, or both.

28 posted on 04/16/2014 2:17:15 PM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: PapaBear3625
Until government notices that your doing it this way means it gets no fuel taxes off you.

They have been doing it that way for many years in some places. Honda has been selling their CNG Civic GX in the US since 1998. They used to offer a home compressor unit directly with the car. Now it is by 3rd party.

29 posted on 04/16/2014 2:19:38 PM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Slambat

Per equivalent gallon of gasoline means they are comparing the same amount of BTUs, not the same volume of fuel.


30 posted on 04/16/2014 2:20:36 PM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: tahoeblue
The article doesn't say if the conversion is to a CNG only vehicle, or to a dual-fuel vehicle.

From the article:

Last year, Ford announced that its 2014 F-150 trucks would come in two options beyond the typical gasoline model: one that runs on natural gas and another that can run on natural gas or gasoline.

Either or both fuels.

31 posted on 04/16/2014 2:21:53 PM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: thackney

“Add a compressor and I would have more convenience than the gasoline engine for daily use.f”

You’d need a compressor that could compress the natural gas to 2,900–3,600 psi. A compressor like that could cost more than the truck.


32 posted on 04/16/2014 2:40:53 PM PDT by catnipman (Cat Nipman: Vote Republican in 2012 and only be called racist one more time!)
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To: thackney

When I worked for Phillips Petroleum in Bartlesville, OK in the early ‘90s, you could get a CNG car from the car pool. You could fill up at the car pool, on the turnpike and at some of the refineries. I used to get one when they were available, just because it was “cool.” And, when you needed to fill up, since all the commercial facilities at the time were Phillips stations, you didn’t have to pay out of your pocket (and then get reimbursed) when you filled up with CNG. They just charged it to your business unit.

They drove pretty much the same as the gas cars. Mostly the same performance, etc. The only time I noticed anything was when you had a loaded vehicle; it couldn’t accelerate as quickly when loaded.

Heard through the company grapevine that the engines lasted a lot longer, and the oil looked “cleaner” when it was changed. All in all, I would get a gas/CNG dual use vehicle if I was in the market for a new, long lasting car/truck. (I put A LOT of miles on my vehicles...)


33 posted on 04/16/2014 2:41:24 PM PDT by LaRueLaDue
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To: thackney

Looks like the break even point would be at least 200,000 miles. Doesn’t make a lot of sense. No wonder they’ve sold only 200 of ‘em.


34 posted on 04/16/2014 2:41:48 PM PDT by catnipman (Cat Nipman: Vote Republican in 2012 and only be called racist one more time!)
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To: catnipman

Nope. They have been selling them for years.

The catch is they are slow-flow. Since it is at home, you plug it in and fill overnight.

http://www.brcfuelmaker.com/phill-domestico-prodotto-brc-fuel-maker.aspx

U.S. price for the Phill is $4,500,

http://www.edmunds.com/autoobserver-archive/2011/03/brc-fuelmaker-again-selling-phill-home-cng-fuel-station.html

But Eaton is supposed to be bringing a unit out for $500.

http://gas2.org/2012/07/24/eaton-developing-500-home-cng-station/


35 posted on 04/16/2014 2:45:03 PM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: catnipman

It makes more sense for a fleet service that would buy higher volumes of Natural Gas at a lower volume price.


36 posted on 04/16/2014 2:50:54 PM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Lurkina.n.Learnin
I would think [propane] would be a lot better.
It would be . . . if propane were cheaper than gasoline. Which it isn’t.

LNG requires so much infrastructure that it’s only fit for long-haul truck fleets.

I see CNG as being competitive with electric vehicles - same sort of range limitation, but substantially cheaper fuel than gasoline. And, realistically, you are better off relying on NG than on electric power.


37 posted on 04/16/2014 2:54:15 PM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion ("Liberalism” is a conspiracy against the public by wire-service journalism.)
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To: thackney

what happens when it overturns at speed? FAE?


38 posted on 04/16/2014 2:54:28 PM PDT by RitchieAprile
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To: thackney

Missed that - thanks!


39 posted on 04/16/2014 2:58:41 PM PDT by tahoeblue
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To: RitchieAprile

“what happens when it overturns at speed?”

Probably something like this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v43nWJ2aoNE


40 posted on 04/16/2014 3:03:51 PM PDT by Rebelbase (Tagline: optional, printed after your name on post)
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To: thackney

Some how cow farts just have to be a part of the equation here.


41 posted on 04/16/2014 3:11:16 PM PDT by central_va (I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: TangoLimaSierra

Where are the CNG stations in the Bakken Shale area, where they’re flaring off NG for lack of a use for it???


42 posted on 04/16/2014 3:21:47 PM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion ("Liberalism” is a conspiracy against the public by wire-service journalism.)
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To: thackney

There ya go...

Now all you need is some land to graze them on..

I think there is a shortage of that in NV though.


43 posted on 04/16/2014 3:22:21 PM PDT by cableguymn (It's time for a second political party.)
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To: cuban leaf

Yes you can..

it’ll hang 2 feet out of the box though.


44 posted on 04/16/2014 3:23:49 PM PDT by cableguymn (It's time for a second political party.)
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To: WayneS
I can't imagine why people wouldn't flock to this vehicle, what with the thousands of natural gas filling stations we have located all around the country....
Well, at least they’re all over Oklahoma, according to #25

Kinda hard to understand the complete absence of them in the Bakken, where they’re flaring off NG for want of an a valuable use for it . . .


45 posted on 04/16/2014 3:35:35 PM PDT by conservatism_IS_compassion ("Liberalism” is a conspiracy against the public by wire-service journalism.)
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To: thackney

I know a guy with a Crown Victoria that runs on CNG. He tells me it runs so clean he NEVER changes the oil. It stayed perfectly clean after 20 thousand miles.


46 posted on 04/16/2014 3:38:10 PM PDT by central_va (I won't be reconstructed and I do not give a damn.)
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To: WayneS

The oil companies will fight tooth and nail to PREVENT the development of a refueling infrastructure!


47 posted on 04/16/2014 3:41:36 PM PDT by Dick Bachert (Ignorance is NOT BLISS. It is the ROAD TO SERFDOM! We're on a ROAD TRIP!!)
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To: conservatism_IS_compassion
Where are the CNG stations in the Bakken Shale area, where they’re flaring off NG for lack of a use for it???

My understanding is that when there is no gas pipeline to an oil well it cannot be gathered economically and must be flared. I think the industry is looking more into using that gas, though.

48 posted on 04/16/2014 3:48:22 PM PDT by TangoLimaSierra (To win the country back, we need to be as mean as the libs say we are.)
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To: thackney

Our county of 3 million uses CNG for municipal buses.

That is the type of application, along with regional commercial uses, with their own filling capability which work well.


49 posted on 04/16/2014 4:06:06 PM PDT by truth_seeker
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To: TangoLimaSierra

Looking at your map, nearest fillup location to me would be Reno,NV 200 miles away. I’ll stick with gasoline.


50 posted on 04/16/2014 4:15:22 PM PDT by Inyo-Mono (NRA)
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