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Chevrolet Silverado CNG - in dietician's hands
In Europe, pick-ups are usually based on monocoque, unitary structures of passenger cars, so they're small, lightweight and agile means of transporting small loads. There’s also a heavier category of pick-ups built on a frame (like Toyota Hilux or Mitsubishi L200), but it’s still nothing compared to vehicles driven by Americans – their beloved “trucks” are almost lorries in European reality. At 6 meters long and equipped with V8 engines with capacity of 6 liters plus, these cars consume huge amounts of fuel, and a massive vertical front doesn’t help either. CNG seems to be the only good solution here. Especially that the States have it in abundance nowadays, so it’s really cheap. What’s more, it’s the simplest hydrocarbon, so the process of burning it is relatively harmless to the environment, especially with regard to the content of nitrogen oxides and particulates.
The new Chevrolet Silverado that – to our eye – looks exactly the same as 30 years ago, is available in a CNG version with a wide range of configurations. All examples of the 2500 and 3500 series equipped with 6-liter V8 Vortec engines (with only single rear wheels) can be ordered with gas systems (though some variants will be available a couple of months later). The manufacturer promises that each car will allow to save up to $ 8,000 each year, assuming that it will ride on CNG for at least 75% of the time, going for 26 thousand miles (about 42 thousand kilometers) per year, its fuel consumption will reach 12 mpg (about 19.6 l/100 km converting cubic meters of gas to petrol equivalent), and its service period shall not be shorter than 4 years.
We really do hope that GM knows the math and does not manipulate the facts. Why so suspicious? Well, stating the price of petrol at the level of 3.332 dollar per gallon and the price of CNG at 2.06 dollar per gallon, the American company comes to the surprising conclusion that the gas provides a 62% saving compared to petrol. Yes, gas does cost 62% of what they have to pay for petrol, but this gives us savings at the level of only 38%. And yes, petrol is indeed 61% more expensive than gas, but counting like this, here in Poland petrol is almost 100% more expensive than LPG (5.29 PLN and 2.62 PLN respectively), but that doesn’t mean savings are as high as 100%. Luckily, making all those calculations, GM uses the sum of $1.26/gallon – an actual difference in the price of petrol and CNG – so we can safely assume that they’re not painting the grass green.
Because of the fact that vehicles like Silverado are often used in fleets, Chevrolet tempts potential buyers by showing them prospects for big savings in their companies’ budgets if they decide to buy a sufficient number of gas-powered pick-ups. Assuming that a single car saves $ 8,316 per year, the manufacturer is quick to multiply this sum by 200, which gives us over $1.6 million. Not so much earned as simply not spent, but this always appeals to one’s imagination. You only have to buy two hundred huge pick-up trucks, each driving for more than 40 thousand kilometers per year. We don’t see any problems, do you?
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