Chevrolet's Ed Peper unveils the Silverado natural-gas-powered truck during the Chicago Auto Show media preview (Brett T. Roseman for USA TODAY)
CHICAGO -- From the outside you would never know it, but there's a big Chevrolet Silverado on display at the Chicago Auto Show here that offers a lot of hope for bright energy future.
It runs on natural gas.
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Little by little, the auto industry is starting to embrace natural gas, the domestically produced fuel that sells for a fraction of the price of gasoline. America, thanks to the gas boom in the upper Midwest, is seeing an energy renaissance because of it.
For the moment, natural gas-powered transportation is focused on vehicles that businesses buy, that they can centrally fuel to make up the lack of consumer fueling points. At the show, Chevy revealed a 2015 Silverado heavy duty pickup truck that is fitted for CNG, or compressed natural gas, while keeping a gasoline tank.
"With CNG capability to be offered on all Silverado HD cab configurations, customers have a wider range of choices," said Ed Peper, U.S. vice president for General Motors Fleet and Commercial in a statement. "And for companies and municipalities that maintain multiple trucks in their fleet, the fuel cost savings of CNG can really add up in a year."
With CNG currently priced about 62% less per gallon than gasoline, GM says a work
truck that driven 26,000 miles a year can save more than $2,000 annually if it runs on CNG 75% of the time, instead of gasoline.
The option is available on both the Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD. Consumers have long had the ability to own a CNG model because of a version of the Honda Civic and Chevrolet will soon offer a natural-gas powered Impala as well.