Want to save a few dollars or just be a little bit greener with your new commercial van? Now, thanks to GM, you can. The automaker has announced today that Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) powered versions of the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana full-size vans will be offered to fleet and commercial customers beginning this fall.
The vans feature specially designed Vortec 6.0-liter V-8 engines that come with hardened exhaust valves and valve seats for improved wear resistance and durability for gaseous fuel systems. Along with dedicated gaseous fuel injection and fuel storage systems, both the CNG and LPG systems are fully integrated into the vehicle, and will meet EPA and CARB certification requirements, and be fully compliant with applicable motor vehicle safety standards.
The initial CNG and LPB offerings will be available on 2011 model year cargo vans, all of which still carry GM's limited new vehicle warranty including the 5-year/100,000 mile transferable GM powertrain limited warranty.
CNG, LPG and other alternative fuels have been gaining increasing popularity as fuel prices climb skyward. Some worry that a price drop in oil may drive a resurgence in traditional fossil fuel use, but as people get used to using these alternatives we’ll start to see more and more of their kind. There are other benefits to using CNG and LPG as well--the fuel releases less carbon-dioxide emissions when burning and it has a higher octane rating than gasoline.
On the other hand, CNG and LPG don’t have the same calorific (energy) value of gasoline, which means mileage is usually worse. The alternative fuels can also be difficult to find as many fuel stations don’t serve it.