That’s right, kids! You could (assuming that my math is right) drive more than 600 miles on just under 6 gallons of gasoline in Chevy’s new Silverado HD. Of course, there are asterisks all over a statement like that. Still, that statement is technically correct.
So, let’s start explaining ourselves, shall we?
Chevrolet introduced their new 2014 Silverado HD trucks a few weeks ago, and chose the Chicago Auto Show as the venue to announce that GM’s CNG product rollout had paid off- the new Silverado HD would be available with a bi-fuel CNG option straight from the factory. In addition to reducing carbon emissions, a move to CNG could save construction and contractor fleets thousands of dollars due to the fact that CNG costs much less to buy than an equivalent amount of petroleum-based gasoline. So, the first asterisk is that you have to tick the $11,000 Bi-Fuel option when you order your truck.
The second asterisk is a bit flimsier, but stay with me. See, the new Chevy Silverado HD Bi-Fuel model uses GM’s 6.0 liter Vortec V8 as its base. The same 6.0 liter Vortec V8 that prominently features the following sticker under its hood:
That’s right- the CNG Bi-Fuel model is built using the flex-fuel version of GM’s 6.0 liter Vortec, meaning that you could- if you wanted to- fill the truck’s 36 gallon fuel tank with 36 gallons of E85, instead of 36 gallons of dino-juice. Since E85 is 85% ethanol, that leaves 15% that’s still gasoline (which works out to 5.4 gallons of gas per 36 gallon tank).
Based on Chevy’s claims that the 2014 Silverado Bi-Fuel pickup as shown (crew cab/long bed) will go “more than 650 miles” on combined full tank of gas + full tank of CNG, we can do some math. Now, Chevy doesn’t report the MPG of its full-size trucks, but “13-ish” feels right to me, giving us numbers that look like …
TANK SIZE (Gal.)
… which, again, jives with me.
Now, the GM flex-fuel engines are flex-fuel capable, but are hardly “optimized” for E85. That means we’re going to lose some fuel economy “per gallon” here. Let’s figure that number at somewhere between 10 and 15% on the liquid fuel side of the equation. That brings 13 MPG down to 10.5-11.7 MPG range, making the numbers look like this in the most favorable sort of highway conditions.
TANK SIZE (Gal.)
So, there it is. If you choose to run E85 in your 2014 Chevy Silverado HD pickup, you’ll be able to drive about 600 miles on not quite 6 gallons of petroleum gasoline. I don’t know about you guys, but that kind of bright red, V8-powered middle finger to the Saudi sheiks and fear-mongering oil companies makes me a giddy dude.
How does the new Silverado HD make you feel? Do you want to blast across route 66 in one, shouting “‘MURICAAA!!” at the top of your lungs, or does all this green-truck talk just remind you that there’s a commie socialist Nazi Muslim in the White House? Check out some heavy-Chevy pics and let us know what you think about the new big Chevys in the comments, below.
Sources: Chevrolet/GM, my own (admittedly dubious) math and photos.