Wither natural gas? T. Boone Pickens was last heard strongly supporting using the abundant North American fossil fuel as a means of moving the U.S. away from foreign oil. Today, though, the Texas oil man (and almost wind man) was revealed as an investor in a new automotive company called V-Vehicle Co. Based in San Diego, VVC has announced that it will move into an ex-GM plant in Monroe, Louisiana that has been idle since 2007 to build "environmentally friendly" vehicles.

About all we know of the vehicles is the teaser image above and that the company says it will be a "fuel-efficient car for the U.S. market," but we can guess at the style because former Mazda design chief Tom Matano, the man behind the MX-5 Miata, has been hired as VVC's design director. Matano said that more details on the car would be released later.

As we mentioned earlier, the state hopes that the plant will create about 1,400 new jobs with an average salary of $40,000. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was at the announcement ceremony today and says that the state offered VVC an incentive package worth $67 million, and local governments will put up a further $15 million. Thanks again to Mart for the tip!

[Sources: CNBC, Automotive News - sub. req'd]