General Motors (GM) said Tuesday its upcoming compressed natural gas (CNG) bifuel pickup trucks will carry an $11,000 price above the base sticker price for similar gasoline or diesel fueled trucks, but it said the extended-range vehicles will offer a three-to-five year payback on lower fuel and operating costs compared to gasoline and diesel models.

GM announced last month that it expects the 650-mile, extended-range workhorse vehicles to be on the road by the end of the year (see Daily GPI, March 6). The Detroit automaker’s Chevrolet and GMC units plan to roll out a bifuel CNG line of 2013 pickup trucks particularly aimed a commercial fleet operators. GM plans to begin taking orders Thursday.

The CNG bifuels would be available for the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra 2500 HD extended cab pickup trucks with carrying GM’s standard warranties. Both models are expected to be priced above $40,000, based on the 2012 model year pricing, and would be equipped with CNG-capable Vortec 6.0-liter V8 engines that transition between CNG and gasoline fuel systems, GM said. The resulting 650-mile range is “the longest range available in the bifuel truck market,” according to the automaker.

GM’s Joyce Mattman, director of commercial product and specialty vehicles, called the “low cost of ownership [operating costs] a realistic solution,” referring to the historic low natural gas prices relative to gasoline and diesel. GM has not released any official pricing or sales forecasts for the 2013 model Silverado and Sierra pickups.

Mattman said the current average price of CNG is equivalent to $1.89/gallon gasoline. Fleet operators could save between $5,000 and $10,000 during a three-year period, she said.

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