After nearly a thousand cars were torched by French party animals celebrating the New Year, the country's environmentalists and politicians are demanding change.
Addressing reporters on the Champs Elysee, environment minister Otto LaFlamme pointed to a number of burned out hulks and asked, rhetorically: "Can you smell that? A phenolic aroma with rubbery notes and a hint of sulphur. What an offense to the highly refined French palette! It's enough to spoil my appetite for croissants, brie, and beaujolais nouveau." Gesticulating wildly, he added: "Surely, with today's technology, we can design automobiles that burn more cleanly than this!"
Later that day, the environmental group Greenpisse issued a statement asserting that the technology was already available, and would already be mandatory on French vehicles but for a lack of political will. Spokeschick Chere Belair pointed to German automaker Folkswagon as a positive example:
"When a Folkswagon burns, there is little or no visible smoke, and the aroma is more reminiscent of frying sausage, malted barley, and hops, with just a hint of fermented cabbage. Also, the carbon footprint is much lower, due to the extensive use of plant-derived plastic resins and fabrics in the vehicle. Surely French manufacturers, such as Citron, can come up with a vehicle that gives of a fruity aroma with notes of oak tannin when it burns."
French fuel giant GaulGaz pledged to do its part in alleviating the problem. From now on, gasoline sold in the final two weeks of December will contain a minimum of 15% ethanol. This measure should ensure that burning vehicles receive the extra oxygen needed to promote efficient combustion. CEO Luba l'Huile stated: "I don't think that the alcohol content will tempt anyone to drink it--unless, of course, it's a particularly bad year for Pinot Noir."