Part of the city's auto fleet may soon be able to roll along without ever stopping at a gas station.
City Council members this week approved a plan by public works officials to buy two alternative-fuel vehicles and investigate the costs for maintaining stations for them.
All five council members agreed that the clean-air vehicles are a worthy concept.
"It needs to make economic and maintenance sense," Councilman Don Griffin said of the purchases.
Public Works Director Donald K. Jensen, who proposed the plan for vehicles powered by natural gas, propane, methanol or electricity, said, "This will bring us into the technological age gradually."
Such vehicles, Jensen said, are much improved since they were first introduced in the 1970s, and models now on the market can also run on gasoline, so there is no concern about being stranded in an area where alternative fuels are not sold, a staff report said.
The cost for cars and trucks generally is $4,000 to $5,000 more than for a regular gasoline-powered vehicle. But funds are available from various state agencies eager to promote clean-air vehicles, the report stated.
Also, standard gasoline-powered vehicles may be converted to natural gas for $2,000 to $3,000, the report said.