PUTC Tests Bi-fuel 2013 GM 2500 HD


We just got our hands on one of the first 2013 GM 2500 Heavy Duty compressed natural gas pickups, and we'll be spending the week with the truck to see how its new bi-fuel technology works. The system offers two separate ways to run the engine, meaning you can select which fuel you want to use once the system is warmed up.

Both Ford and Ram Truck offer CNG trucks, but neither of those systems allow the user to select which fuel to use.Their systems decide automatically for the driver. The Ford Super Duty runs on CNG until it runs out, then switches to gasoline, and the Ram does the same. In contrast, the GM three-quarter-ton trucks (which can be ordered in two- or four-wheel drive, short or longbed, extended or crew cab) allow the driver to decide between the two fuels with the push of a button, depending on the circumstances.

As the stickers on the side of the truck state, General Motors is promoting the fact that it has the largest dealer network, a 650 mileage range, and the largest cargo bed area when equipped with the eight-foot bed. 

Let us know what you want to know about the truck, and we'll figure out how to get it done and report back in an upcoming story.




Unfortunately for me,there are no cng stations anywhere near where I live.But I would still be interested in the mpg's and your opinion of possible differences in power from the different fuels etc.

Most if not all of Chesepeak Energy's Trucks are Bifuel.. As stated the Power is the same with both fuels, and the Range is as stated, Cant tell when it shifts from CNG to Gas, BUT if the CNG tank is full it uses it first. Fuel Economy is about 1 to 2 MPG better (gas to CNG equivalent) running on the CNG.. Again this is what i heard from Friends that drive them in Chesepeak.

I'd like to know why they insist on keeping it so ugly, year after year. You'd think they'd figure it out and fire those designers in favor of someone who knows how to design better looking trucks.

Back on topic, I'd like to know if the cargo bed is actually the biggest or is GM marketing misleading somehow with the bed size or height (previous GM marketing said a taller bed was very bad) or tank size or using inconsistent data from Ford (ie comparing a 8' bed to a short bed competitior). I'd like to know how the dealer network vs the competition would work in the real world.

Anyone know at what PSI the gas is at? Just wondering if in the future they could hop up the PSI for better range. For example paintball guns that run off of air use 3000PSI tanks.

Well those CNG tanks usually take up a good chunk of the bed, like a tool box does. I am wondering what happens if you have a CNG station closeby and refuel frequently. If you are unable to switch between fuels could you have gasoline sit in the tank for months on end, eventually going bad? I would think that you would want to use up all gas in the tank at least once per month. I suppose you could always just run the tank to E once per month to do so though. Not as big of an issue after all I guess.

Does anyone know the safety of CNG powered vehicles? Will it hold up in a nasty accident or will it explode. Gas and diesel trucks may ignite but they wont explode. Just look at the CNG powered taxi that blew up after being rear ended in that Vegas shootout. To me, that is my biggest concern.

Flying J truck stops are putting in CNG fueling stations. It may be a option for those that live near one. Most are located on the major interstate system.
Will GM consider a bi-fuel pick-up that runs on either diesel or CNG rather than the gas/CNG combo?

They're not supposed to explode, they're supposed to just vent the gas into the atmosphere if something happens to them. In the respect CNG is supposed to be quite a bit safer than gasoline, which will leak all over the place giving off flammable vapors.

nice looking truck !

Not many CNG stations where I live. I'd offset any fuel benefits by driving off the beaten track to refill.

The number one question I would have is the cost and how long would it take to break even if it ever does. I have read that the EPA jacks up the price of these conversions to $11k when the regular price without the EPA crap should be less than half.

@Mark Williams,
We have bifuel setups for Utes running Petrol /LPG. You can switch readily from one to another.


jrt: looks are in the eye of the beholder, I for one like the looks of the GM trucks, and there are about a half a million folks that agree with me.


Ive always wanted to convert my truck the the bi-fuel cng system but the lack of fueling infastructure is unencourageing.

I love to wear panties as well as other articles of women's clothing.

Is GM looking at eventually producing conformance style tanks that will fit under the beds?

I do know the cost of these composite tanks are very high.

Also how well protected are they from a load in the back. Someone will load a truck poorly and maybe pierce a tank.

I still think natural gas is best used for powergeneration, home and commericial heating.

Save as much high energy dense liquid fuels for tranportation.

Can you do a miles per dollar metric at the end of the test? That way it can be considered which one is actually cheaper. Factoring in the extra distance (if there is any additional distance) to fill the CNG tanks would be helpful as well. In my area (upstate new york) I'm not really sure I have any near me.

Why not stick it's max trailer tow, or atleast 95% of it behind it and tow at 65-70 mph and see how the mileage really is?


I understand that they are supposed to vent when under flame impingement, but I am talking about violent trauma to the containers due to an accident. CNG, a COMPRESSED GAS, explodes. Dont believe me? Look at those neighborhoods that were leveled by exploding gas pipelines. That is what I am worried about with CNG powered vehicles. What happens when a bad accident ruptures the container?

Explosions are a concern but it can be more of an issue if gas leaks out and collects in "dead space". Years ago in my town, a taxi running on propane exploded post MVC but the tanks were in the trunk and the fuel lines ruptured and leaked inside the vehicle. Those gases caused the explosion. Another case was a 16 passenger van hit a loaded logging truck carrying telephone poles. That one exploded like a bomb. The impact of the collision even without propane on board would most likely of killed everyone on board. It was a head on with propane tanks laterally outboard to the frame. Both of those incidences were over 20 years ago. The technology that goes into tanks are better and so are the fuel shut off systems.
I've seen BLEVE blasts from gasoline powered vehicles. I think that paranoia about CNG/Propane at least statistically, is somewhat unfounded.

@Jason: Power is the same with both fuels? Nope.

The extended cab is powered by a 6.0-liter V-8 that makes the same horsepower and torque as you'd find in the base model with "a minimal loss" with CNG, said Mike Jones, GM's CNG product

Bad enough the 6.0 can't make the empty mileage of the Hemi (as per the last PT.com HD shootout) and barely makes close to same power.

Atleast it takes less bed space.

The Range is relatively impressive, considering that I would drive my 2011 GMC Sierra 6.0L from Atlanta, GA. to Washington, D.C. totalling 734 miles one way and having to stop twice to fuel up, if I were to afford a truck with the CNG Package option, I would make my first refueling stop in Virginia and taking in the remaing 170 or so miles to D.C., though if I were to tow a trailer close to it's max pulling compacity, the epa numbers would probably be a near match to where I 'am now.

The wreck in Vegas that resulted in the explosion was NOT a CNG vehicle. That was what was initially reported, but the police stated that it was due to the gas tank being full (beginning of shift) and the violent impact due to the high speed.

I'm curious if the CNG option is going to be available to the public or just fleet buyers.

@Maybevegas - full gasoline tanks don't tend to explode, they burn until a critical point is reached. Fuel burns off, and once sufficient vaour and pressure is created inside the tank, you then get an explosion. A violent crash could cause a massive tank rupture with fuel spilled violently over a large area. There will be a "fireball" akin to throwing gasoline onto a camp fire, technically it isn't an explosion. Fuel vapor trapped in an enclosed space will cause an explosion.

I was at a Flying J in South Carolina this last week which was building a new NFG filling area at their site. This is just a start of many things to come for NFG.

@Greg - NFG???? Is that a comment related to the quality of your posts?
The correct abbreviation is CNG.

Thanks once again for the hilarious comic relief.

My point is that it wasn't a CNG tank. So you admit the fuel burns off and then there is an explosion. Bravo.

@Maybevegas - my apologies. I misread your post. A tank may explode under the circumstances known as a BLEVE. A tank that ruptures and spews fuel all over and ignites and flashes over is not technically an explosion. There is more force generated with a true explosion.

Thanks Lou for the apology, there is way too much hostility on this forum. I did want to make sure the CNG connection wasn't wrongly portrayed as it was initially here in Vegas.

My inquiries into CNG found that the highest expense in the system is the tank.

For those curious about stations and pricing, go to:


There is an easily searchable map that shows prices. Prices here in Vegas are roughly $2.65+/- per gallon equivalent, but 120 miles to the north in St. George Utah, the price is $1.49+/-. Current premium gas in Las Vegas is $3.50+/- and at $2.65 per gallon equivalent, I don't think the system pays for itself feasibly.

@Maybevegas - I have no problems admitting that I was in error.
I do agree that there is too much hostility on this site.

Forget the CNG high pressure, very expensive fuel tanks. Just order the GM trucks with the LPG-CNG Ready-To-Convert engine and get an aftermarket propane LPG conversion. Even GM tests show a HP increase of 2 percent over gasoline and a 9 percent increase in HP compared to CNG. The reason for the better power on LPG than CNG is that propane has 18 times the hydrogen content of natural gas. Propane is kept under very low pressure, so the steel tank is much lighter. Propane is a liquid under pressure, while CNG is still a gaseous vapour. For that reason, you can drive about 35 to 45 percent farther on propane than on CNG for the same size of dimensions of the tank. The aftermarket cost for a LPG propane conversion on a pickup truck is $5,800 or more with dual tanks but even an aftermarket CNG, with steel tanks is about $8,500. GM uses a very light fiberglass-carbonfiber type of tank and the CNG option lists for $15,000. Propane is selling in the bigger U.S. cities for as low as $1.90 a U.S. gallon which is the same in Toronto and Calgary as 52 cents per Liter. Leave the gasoline system in place and only use gasoline when you cannot find a propane station close. I have run fleets of propane vehicles since 1985, with over 25 million miles ( 40 million KM ) and propane works better than CNG every day of the week.

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