Mike Ramsey:

Ford Motor Co. F +0.30% will begin selling an F-150 pickup truck later this year that is modified to run on compressed natural gas, as demand continues to grow among commercial fleet buyers.

Ford sold 11,000 trucks last year that run on natural gas, and that was double what the company sold in the years of 2009, 2010 and 2011 combined. Until now, Ford hadn’t made it an option available on the base F-150, reserving it for heavier-duty models and its Transit Connect delivery van.

With the addition of the F-150, Ford expects to sell about 15,000 CNG vehicles this year, the company said in a statement.

“We did this because customers were asking for it,” said Kevin Koswick, Ford’s director of North American fleet sales operations.

Chrysler Group LLC and General Motors Co. GM -0.11% already offer compressed natural gas as an option on its half-ton pickup trucks and Ford offers it on its larger, heavy-duty pickups and vans. Of the Detroit companies, only Chrysler is installing the special tanks and fuel lines in the trucks at its own factory. Ford and GM send the trucks to an upfitter that installs the equipment.