WARNING: What you are about to read is satire. Just in case you're having doubts.
There's a serious threat to our great American roadways rising on the Left Coast, and it's bound to sweep eastward like a new strain of the flu virus.
Consumers in California who drive the new Honda Civic GX -- or any other natural-gas-powered vehicle, or NGV -- can duck out on paying their fair share of highway taxes. That's because they can use a home refueling pump to tank up on the same untaxed natural gas that their furnaces and stoves use.
Now that just seems darned un-American.
For now, I'm willing to give the Civic GX buyers the benefit of the doubt. They're probably just well-intentioned consumers trying to be kind to the environment. Most likely, they're not tax-evading scofflaws like mobsters, moonshiners or members of some anarchistic cult.
But the result is the same.
Right now, the Civic GX is only available in California. But Honda plans to roll it out across the nation, which could mean an epidemic. If this thing spreads, and millions of homeowners pump their own natural gas, how will our states afford to buy orange barrels and cones?
It also would be like turning the calendar back a century to the days when many Americans kept storage tanks of gasoline.
Here's the really discouraging part:
The Civic GX is considered a Super-Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle, or SULEV, in all 50 states. And because the California Air Resources Board designated the GX an Advanced Technology Partial Zero-Emission Vehicle, or AT-PZEV, it can use the expressway diamond lanes normally reserved for car pools - even if the driver is the only occupant!
That means Civic GX owners who refill at home don't even pay for the fast lane that the state lets them drive in.
A tip of the old fedora goes to AutoWeek West Coast Senior Editor Mark Vaughn, who revealed this sordid detail.
And thank your lucky stars he did.
AutoWeek is a sister publication of Automotive News.
As with most other social ills, the place to stop this unconscionable threat to our way of life is in the home. Some government agency needs to outlaw home refueling pumps and confiscate them, just as they would illegal stills, drug paraphernalia or those gizmos that let you steal signals from your cable TV box.
If you know any state legislators, you should forward them a copy of this column, or at least alert them to the problem before it's too late.
You may e-mail Edward Lapham at