THE BAN ON gifts to Pennsylvania lawmakers introduced by state Sen. Jeffrey Piccola is a no-brainer. The proposal, subject of a recent sparsely attended hearing in Harrisburg, would ban gifts exceeding $10 from lobbyists to lawmakers. We're shocked such a bill wasn't passed, like, four decades ago.

But we have an even better idea: How about a bill that would ban gifts from taxpayers? Especially the gift we give our representatives: a car and an always-full gas tank.

That's right: 123 members of the General Assembly drive state-subsidized cars; over half of those are - gasp! - SUVs.

That's a gift we give - and keep giving - to members of Congress, too. In fact, we think that rather than the harebrained scheme of a summer "gas tax holiday," we should declare a holiday on such a perk. (Daily News columnist John Baer made a similiar suggestion a few weeks back.)

How on earth will we ever get an energy policy that reflects reality if we keep our lawmakers removed from the reality of having to actually pay for $4-a-gallon and-rising gas? Write your state and federal lawmakers. Tell them that at the very least, the gravy train should be converted to a hybrid. *