The Next Hybrid Vehicle

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Natural-gas vehicles are a tough sell. Sure, natural gas is considerably cheaper than gasoline, but natural-gas refueling stations are few and far between.

What we really need is a vehicle capable of running on both gasoline and natural gas. A natural gas/gasoline hybrid would let us fill up with gasoline on our daily commute to work and natural gas when we hit the freeway for a road trip.

As it turns out, such a vehicle will soon be available.

The bi-fuel fix
Clean Energy Fuels
(NAS: CLNE) is working on constructing a network of natural-gas stations along some of the nation's major highways. Meanwhile, General Motors (NYS: GM) is working with Fuel Systems Solutions (NAS: FSYS) to bring to market a natural-gas bi-fuel pickup, which is to be released sometime late next year.

Not to be outdone, Ford (NYS: F) is teaming up with Westport Innovations (NAS: WPRT) on a bi-fuel truck as well.

The bad news is the bi-fuel trucks will initially be available only for commercial customers, but if they prove to be a success, I suspect we could see a similar offering available to the public.

The bottom line
Bi-fuel vehicles could be the future, as they offer an obvious solution to the infrastructure dilemma. The companies supplying the major auto manufacturers with the bi-fuel technology could experience massive growth if this trend takes hold.   

At the time this article was published Fool contributor Adam J. Crawford owns shares of Fuel Systems Solutions but owns no shares of any other company mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of General Motors, Ford, and Westport Innovations. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't 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.

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