Chevy and GMC both have alternative-energy versions of their pickups, but A) Can they pull a trailer? and B) Are they worth the hype?
[top image: Wikimedia Commons]
Has the future of pickups arrived with new, green offerings from GMC and Chevy? Both have released models in recent years that can be fueled by gasoline plus natural gas or electricity. But are they really that much better than gas or diesel? Let’s take a look at what’s out there to see how they stack up.
[Chevy Silverado, Wikimedia Commons]
Bi-fuel (natural gas and gasoline) :
Only available in crew cab (4-door), the bi-fuel option for these trucks allows you to use a combination of natural gas and gasoline to get where you’re going. Right now, they’re a pretty niche, but growing product in the U.S., with about 135,000 natural gas vehicles on the road, which is up 12.5% from 2012, according to Natural Gas Vehicles for America.
But if you live near a natural gas fueling station, it might not be a terrible idea…with a $2.15 average per gallon price, natural gas sure beats $3.90 for diesel or $3.33 for gasoline.
- Range: 650 miles with gasoline and natural gas
- Conventional tow capacity: 13,000 lbs.
[GMC Sierra, Wikimedia Commons]
For heavy-duty hauling, there’s a reason why diesel is king. The comparable trucks in this class had the highest tow capacity and MPG — and you don’t have to worry about being stranded out in the country without an alternative fueling station nearby.
- Range: 680 miles
- Conventional tow capacity: 17,800 lbs.
Hybrid (electricity and gasoline) :
The hybrid options for these trucks were discontinued this year, so no new 2014 models are available. Not that you’d want one anyway–with such a low tow capacity, it wouldn’t be safe to haul horses.
- MPG:20/23 city/hwy
- Conventional tow capacity: 6100 lbs.
Bottom line–if you spring for a natural gas truck, you’re one of the first guinea pigs. You’ll be sacrificing some of the mileage and tow capacity of a diesel truck, but depending on fuel prices in your area, it could be cheaper to fill up.
Any readers have experience with “green” trucks? Share in the comments!