The flagship of Ford's best-selling F-Series pickup trucks, the F-150, will have the additional option of running on natural gas starting with the 2014 model year.
I can't think of a better shot in the arm to get natural gas more popular as a transportation fuel with the motoring public at large.
That's because the F-Series isn't just the top-selling truck in America. It's the top-selling automobile in the United States.
And with so many people buying it, even if a very small percentage decide on the natural-gas option, it'll still put quite a few more vehicles on the roadways burning natural gas instead of diesel or gasoline.
And even when the buyer decides not to go natural gas, the dealer still will have sung in the customer's ear that it only takes about two to three years for the savings to show up on a more expensive vehicle because of the less expensive fuel.
That might not have been enough to work the first time, but after a little while of this whole natural gas thing getting more normal, they'll be back. And they might even bring a friend.
So while public policy makers had been hemming and hawing around on how much tax money to throw at natural-gas vehicles, the wheels of the free market have been turning behind the scenes.
And I'll bet the turning wheels of an F-150 running down the highway on natural gas will do more to encourage natural gas use in transportation than all of the incentives plans so far floated — combined.
The market is speaking. Let's be patient and let it have the floor, lest we throw out public money to encourage an industry that needs no encouraging in the first place.
What a waste that would be.