While America might run on Dunkin', Ford's (NYSE:F) new F-150 can soon be run on American natural gas. This past August, Ford announced that customers will be able to get an F-150 that's factory equipped to operate on either natural gas or gasoline. It's news that some of its customers were ecstatic to hear.
Customers will have to choose a Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier like Westport Innovations (NASDAQ:WPRT) to complete the task. While uplift costs range between $7,500 and $9,500, with the money saved on fuel the payback can be in as little as 24 months. Westport Innovations will be offering Ford customers a range of options to fit their needs thanks to its versatile WiNG Power System.
This is a move that many Ford's customers have been waiting a long time to see come to pass. For example, oil and gas producer Pioneer Natural Resources (NYSE:PXD) has been buying Ford built trucks for years. However, its employees have been clamoring for a natural gas-powered F-150 because the larger F-250 and F-350 models are currently equipped to run on natural gas don't suit their lifestyles. The smaller F-150 on the other hand is perfect as it's "slightly smaller and fits more easily in the family garage," according to Lynn Lyons of Pioneer Natural Resources.
While she personally drives the F-250, which is the smallest F-Series truck Ford currently offers that can run on natural gas, her co-workers are waiting for the day when they can get their hands on an F-150. Lynn, who is in charge of purchasing trucks for Pioneer, has said that, "If I had F-150s that run on natural gas right now, we would have a large amount of employees" buy them for personal use.
The reason is pretty simply, as an oil and natural gas producer, Pioneer's employees know where its profits come from. That's why Pioneer wants to run its trucks on natural gas. Not only that, but as Lynn points out, "We can run them on our own fuel and it's less than $1 a gallon for us. You feel like you're the dairy farmer drinking your own milk."
Overall, the energy boom has created a huge boom in truck buying. Energy companies like Pioneer and its employees are heavy truck buyers. Not only that, but large land owners that have profited from lease bonuses and royalties in places like Texas, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania are flush with cash thanks to booming production. This has fueled overall demand for pickup trucks in these states.
That being said, natural gas has the potential to fuel the next big boom in Ford's truck sales, especially to energy industry participants. The industry is increasingly using natural gas to power drilling site equipment so it's only a matter of time before it becomes standard practice to use natural gas wherever possible. The fact that the already-popular Ford F-150 will soon have the ability to run on natural gas, it should make it the pickup truck of choice among energy producers. That will just put the natural gas revolution in America just one step closer to becoming a reality. It's cheaper, cleaner, and, of course, made in America.
Fool contributor Matt DiLallo owns shares of Westport Innovations and has the following options: long January 2014 $10 calls on Ford and short January 2014 $10 puts on Ford. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Ford and Westport Innovations. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.