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Chrysler to sell natural gas-powered truck

Chrysler aims to be the first U.S. automaker to produce a factory-built pickup truck that is powered mainly by natural gas, the Associated Press reports.

The privately held company said today that its new Ram 2500 Heavy Duty CNG truck will be sold to commercial customers that operate truck fleets. The company expects to deliver the first trucks in July.

The truck will have natural gas tanks and an 8-gallon fuel tank for gasoline. Chrysler said a small amount of gasoline is needed to start the truck, but after ignition it runs entirely on natural gas. If the natural gas tanks run out, the engine can switch to gasoline.

If you hear a plane flying close to the ground Monday…

… Don't panic. It's a routine venting of natural gas from a pipeline in Spokane Valley.

Gas Transmission Northwest LLC, a partly owned subsidiary of TransCanada Corp., said in a news release that the company will vent a 36-in. diameter pipeline in preparation for upgrades to the line. The process, called a “blow-down,”  is considered routine and doesn't pose a threat, but it's very, very loud, the company said.

“Even if you know it's coming, it can be disconcerting. It can sound like a jet airplane circling the house at low altitude for about 45 minutes,” a company spokesman said.

The company has notified about 2,400 households near the site, at 32nd Avenue just east of Barker Road, the release said. The blow-down begins at 10 a.m. Monday.  Access to the area will be restricted and some roads will be closed for the duration of the venting. For information, contact Steve McNulty at (509) 533-2833.