2007 Honda Civic GX: Deja Vu in the (Natural) Gas Line
September 13, 2007
This would have made sense had I done a lot of acid back then, but the 70s for me were a pretty clean decade.
Why then, was I having this weird flashback? A gas line. In 2007?
It wasn't a hallucination, though.
I really did spend almost 20 minute the other morning, sitting in line with our longterm 2007 Honda Civic GX, waiting for the guys ahead of me to fill their cars and vans so I could gas up and hit the road.
This time, though, the problem wasn'€™t a gas shortage. When youâ€™ve driving a car that uses compressed natural gas, the problem is a pump shortage. I'd pulled into the pump (yes, the singular is intentional) in Garden Grove, just off the 22 Freeway, about the same time half the taxis in central Orange County had decided it was time to fill up.
€śIt's not like this all the time,€ť the cabbie behind me said as I sat there alternately glancing at my watch and watching the guy in the big Yellow Cab van sloooowly fill his tank. €śBut it can get bad when we'€™re all trying to fill up at the same time.
In retrospect, a line with four cars wasn'€™t quite like the 50- and 60-car lines common during the '€™73 gasoline shortage.
But it made me realize that, in Southern California at least, a whole lot of taxis use natural gas, as do myriad school and transit buses, short-haul delivery trucks and other commercial vehicles. That'€™s because CNG usually costs a lot less than gasoline and cuts down on engine maintenance because it burns far cleaner.
And that made me wonder why, if we'€™re so concerned about air quality, auto emissions and the price of gas, there isn'€™t a whole lot more effort by state and federal governments and private businesses to boost the use of natural gas as a vehicle fuel.
Then, maybe, the stations that dispensed it would be closer together and more conveniently located, and a group of cabbies who lose money every minute their cabs are sitting idle would have to answer questions from a nosy reporter intrigued by the fact that you can still find gas lines in 2007.
John O'€™Dell, Senior Editor, Green Car Advisor, @ 2,689 miles.