The implications are huge! Running a fleet vehicle on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) or Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) has many benefits to the consumer, most notably it is cheaper, about a dollar per gallon and compared to unleaded petroleum on a work vehicle used every day the savings could add up quickly. That being said the CNG/LPG prepped cars conversion kit from Ford will cost $315, but after installation of the tank and all necessary equipment it will cost fleet vehicle owners around $7500, which is steep initially, but Ford claims you should break even after 24-36 months.
I worry that with most commercial vehicles being used for only 2 years anyways, since businesses typically buy new ones since they are a tax ride off, it might not be appealing to business owners. I think that it would be better if Ford offered the option straight from the factory, reducing cost to the consumer.
Ford being first to implement this alternative fuel option, carved out another piece of its already huge share of the market. Furthermore, it allows companies to feel greener; using CNG/LPG gas reduces carbon emissions by about 21%, which is good for the globally environmentally minded consumer. The bad news is that CNG fill up stations are not common so their routes would be limited. Added to the fact that you can go fewer miles on a tank it doesn’t bode well for the new product. I believe that this is a step in the right direction though and as this technology becomes more commonplace, not only will it become more efficient, the issue of filling up will gradually resolve itself.
I hope this technology takes off. I am predicting that as it does it will not only be good for the atmosphere, but help the U.S. in many ways as well. Being able to produce our own fuel here makes us less dependent on volatile foreign countries. Having huge reserves of natural gas here could actually make us an exporter of fuel decreasing our international trade deficit. I don’t think that Ford implemented this new technology the best way possible, but I’m glad they are trying to implement alternative fuel options.