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Author Topic: Planning on using Veggie Oil? Better think again.  (Read 4140 times)
DrivingMissLazy
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« on: June 10, 2007, 01:40:38 PM »

Charlotte Man Converts Car to Veggie Oil, Gets Fined by State

Posted: Jun. 9, 2007

CHARLOTTE, N.C. Thumbing your noise at oil sheiks can cost you in North Carolina.

Bob Teixeira, a Charlotte guitar teacher, took a stand against U.S. dependence on foreign oil last fall and spent $1,200 to convert his 1981 diesel Mercedes to run on vegetable oil. He buys soybean oil in 5-gallon jugs at Costco, which costs him about a third more than diesel.

Despite his good intentions, the state fined Teixeira $1,000 for not paying motor fuel taxes. North Carolina officials also told him that to legally use veggie oil here he'd have to first post a $2,500 bond.

Such penalties have also been levied against other North Carolina drivers whose vehicles were powered by alternative fuels.

"If somebody was going to go to this much trouble to drive around in a car that uses soybean oil, they ought to be exempt" from state taxes, said state Sen. Stan Bingham, R-Davidson, who drives a diesel Volkswagen fueled by used soybean oil that sports a sign reading "Goodbye, OPEC."

Teixeira and other independent-minded drivers may get a break from the state. The North Carolina Department of Revenue, which fined Teixeira, has asked lawmakers to waive the $2,500 bond for small fuel users. Also, Revenue officials told Teixeira the department will compromise on his fine.

But the state's not about to drop its taxes on all fuels used in highway vehicles. North Carolina's 29.9-cent tax on a gallon of gas generates $1.2 billion each year to pay for road construction.

"With the high cost of fuel right now, the department does recognize that a lot of people are looking for relief," said Reggie Little, assistant director of the motor fuel taxes division. "We're not here to hurt the small guy, we're just trying to make sure that the playing field is level."

Few states are prepared to regulate new fuels, according to the National VegOil Board, which promotes vegetable oil fuel.

"State offices do not have the forms to appropriately and fairly deal with VegOil, nor the staff to enforce the non-existent forms," said director Cynthia Shelton. "So either they tell people inquiring about compliance to get lost, or they make them jump through a bunch of arbitrary hoops."

North Carolina has taken steps toward alternative fuels in official vehicles, with lawmakers in 2005 ordering state agencies to replace 20 percent of their annual petroleum use with alternatives by 2010. Ethanol can be used now in about 6,000 of the state's 8,500 vehicles and the state fleet also includes about 135 gas-electric hybrids.

North Carolina Department of Revenue officials noticed Teixeira last month near Lowe's Motor Speedway while they were checking fuel tanks of diesel RVs for illegal fuel. The bumper sticker on his car that reads "Powered by 100% vegetable oil" grabbed their attention.

"It was like some twist of fate that put me there," he said. "It
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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2007, 01:47:44 PM »

Checking the fuel tanks of rv's.
Hope they had a warrant. Huh
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DrivingMissLazy
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« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2007, 01:55:39 PM »

Checking the fuel tanks of rv's.
Hope they had a warrant. Huh

I do not think they need a warrant. It is done all the time by State Highway people checking the tractor trailers to see if they are running red dyed (off road) fuel.

I heard recently that they had a sniffer system here in WV where they only had to sniff the exhaust as a tractor passed by to determine if they were running off road fuel. They then radio ahead to a second check point to have that vehicle stopped. $10,000 Fine???
Richard
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« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2007, 02:11:34 PM »

Illinois Man Fined Thousands And Threatened With Felony Prosecution For Using Untaxed Biodiesel
DECATUR - David and Eileen Wetzel don't get going in the morning quite as early as they used to.

So David Wetzel, 79, was surprised to hear a knock on the door at their eastside home while he was still getting dressed.

Two men in suits were standing on his porch.

"They showed me their badges and said they were from the Illinois Department of Revenue," Wetzel said. "I said, 'Come in.' Maybe I shouldn't have."

Gary May introduced himself as a special agent. The other man, John Egan, was introduced as his colleague. May gave the Wetzels his card, stating that he is the senior agent in the bureau of criminal investigations.

"I was afraid," Eileen Wetzel said. "I came out of the bathroom. I thought: Good God, we paid our taxes. The check didn't bounce."

The agents informed the Wetzels that they were interested in their car, a 1986 Volkswagen Golf, that David Wetzel converted to run primarily from vegetable oil but also partly on diesel.

Wetzel uses recycled vegetable oil, which he picks up weekly from an organization that uses it for frying food at its dining facility.

"They told me I am required to have a license and am obligated to pay a motor fuel tax," David Wetzel recalled. "Mr. May also told me the tax would be retroactive."

Since the initial visit by the agents on Jan. 4, the Wetzels have been involved in a struggle with the Illinois Department of Revenue. The couple, who live on a fixed budget, have been asked to post a $2,500 bond and threatened with felony charges.

State legislators have rallied to help the Wetzels.

State Sen. Frank Watson, R-Greenville, introduced Senate Bill 267, which would curtail government interference regarding alternative fuels, such as vegetable oil. A public hearing on the bill will be at 1 p.m. today in Room 400 of the state Capitol.

"I would agree that the bond is not acceptable, $2,500 bond," Watson said, adding that David Wetzel should be commended for his innovative efforts. "(His car) gets 46 miles per gallon running on vegetable oil. We all should be thinking about doing without gasoline if we're trying to end foreign dependency.

"I think it's inappropriate of state dollars to send two people to Mr. Wetzel's home to do this. They could have done with a more friendly approach. It could have been done on the phone. To use an intimidation factor on this - who is he harming? Two revenue agents. You'd think there's a better use of their time," Watson said.

The Wetzels, who plan to speak at a Senate hearing in Springfield today, recalled how their struggle with the revenue department unfolded.

According to the Wetzels, May told them during his Jan. 4 visit that they would have to pay taxes at either the gasoline rate of 19½ cents per gallon or the diesel rate of 21½ cents per gallon.

A retired research chemist and food plant manager, Wetzel produced records showing he has used 1,134.6 gallons of vegetable oil from 2002 to 2006. At the higher rate, the tax bill would come to $244.24.

"That averages out to $4.07 a month," Wetzel noted, adding he is willing to pay that bill.

But the Wetzels would discover that the state had more complicated and costly requirements for them to continue to use their "veggie mobile."

David Wetzel was told to contact a revenue official and apply for a license as a "special fuel supplier" and "receiver." After completing a complicated application form designed for businesses, David Wetzel was sent a letter directing him to send in a $2,500 bond.

Eileen Wetzel, a former teaching assistant, calculated that the bond, designed to ensure that their "business" pays its taxes, would cover the next 51 years at their present usage rate.

A couple of weeks later, David Wetzel received another letter from the revenue department, stating that he "must immediately stop operating as a special fuel supplier and receiver until you receive special fuel supplier and receiver licenses."

This threatening letter stated that acting as a supplier and receiver without a license is a Class 3 felony. This class of felonies carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.

On the department of revenue's Web site, David Wetzel discovered that the definition of special fuel supplier includes someone who operates a plant with an "active bulk storage capacity of not less than 30,000 gallons." Wetzel also did not fit the definition of a receiver, described as a person who produces, distributes or transports fuel into the state. So Wetzel withdrew his application to become a supplier and receiver.

Mike Klemens, spokesman for the department of revenue, explained that Wetzel has to register as a supplier because the law states that is the only way he can pay motor fuel tax.

But what if he is not, in fact, a supplier? Then would he instead be exempt from paying the tax?

"We are in the process of creating a way to simplify the registration process and self-assess the tax," Klemens said, adding that a rule change may be in place by spring.

David Wetzel wonders why hybrid cars, which rely on electricity and gasoline, are not taxed for the portion of travel when they are running on electrical power. He said he wants to be treated equally by the law.

David Wetzel, who has been exhibiting his car at energy fairs and universities, views state policies as contradicting stated government aims.

"You hear the president saying we need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil," Wetzel said. "You hear the governor saying that."

State Rep. Bob Flider, D-Mount Zion, also plans to support legislation favoring alternative fuels.

"I'm disappointed that the Illinois Department of Revenue would go after Mr. Wetzel," Flider said. "I don't think it is a situation that merits him being licensed and paying fees.

"The people at the department of revenue apparently feel they need to regulate him in some way. We want to make sure that he is as free as he can be to use vegetable oil. He's an example of ingenuity. Instead of being whacked on the head, he should be encouraged."

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Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body. But rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, a good Reisling in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming:  WOO HOO, what a ride
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« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2007, 02:44:56 PM »

Checking the fuel tanks of rv's.
Hope they had a warrant. Huh

I do not think they need a warrant. It is done all the time by State Highway people checking the tractor trailers to see if they are running red dyed (off road) fuel.

I heard recently that they had a sniffer system here in WV where they only had to sniff the exhaust as a tractor passed by to determine if they were running off road fuel. They then radio ahead to a second check point to have that vehicle stopped. $10,000 Fine???
Richard
That is outragious!
With a range that your buses have how on earth could they possibly prove that no taxes were paid in the state yer in. If it is not a commercial vehicle I do not see how a search could be done on an individauals proprty like that. And I am a crime fighter myself!
Last time I looked State statute can not supercede federal law. Reasonable suspition and unreasonible searches. I do believe I would have a problem with that if it were me.
$10,000. eh?   Hope they take a check Cheesy
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DrivingMissLazy
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« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2007, 03:23:30 PM »

I do not think it is only if you have paid state tax, also the feds get in on it also since they are avoiding federal tax also. 
I do not know about your area, but here in WV there is a lot of oil well drilling going on plus a lot of agriculture equipment that is fueled by off road (dyed red) fuel for which no state or federal road taxes have been paid.
I have two grandsons who work in the oil fields and the off road fuel is readily available to them at no cost, but they are both afraid to use it because of the stiff penalties if they should happen to get caught using it.
Richard


Checking the fuel tanks of rv's.
Hope they had a warrant. Huh

I do not think they need a warrant. It is done all the time by State Highway people checking the tractor trailers to see if they are running red dyed (off road) fuel.

I heard recently that they had a sniffer system here in WV where they only had to sniff the exhaust as a tractor passed by to determine if they were running off road fuel. They then radio ahead to a second check point to have that vehicle stopped. $10,000 Fine???
Richard
That is outragious!
With a range that your buses have how on earth could they possibly prove that no taxes were paid in the state yer in. If it is not a commercial vehicle I do not see how a search could be done on an individauals proprty like that. And I am a crime fighter myself!
Last time I looked State statute can not supercede federal law. Reasonable suspition and unreasonible searches. I do believe I would have a problem with that if it were me.
$10,000. eh?   Hope they take a check Cheesy
Green Hornet
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Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body. But rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, a good Reisling in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming:  WOO HOO, what a ride
Jerry32
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« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2007, 04:46:24 PM »

I notice they never mention the electric cars and how are they going to tax them?Huh?  Jerry
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1988 MCI 102A3 8V92TA 740
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« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2007, 05:32:07 PM »

Actually Jerry one has.  Oregon has  new system they are looking at where your tax is based on the number of miles you drive, they want every car outfitted with a gps transceiver so they can just send you a bill.  Ah the gov is always looking out for us.....

Frank
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« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2007, 06:01:50 PM »

Actually Jerry one has.  Oregon has  new system they are looking at where your tax is based on the number of miles you drive, they want every car outfitted with a gps transceiver so they can just send you a bill.  Ah the gov is always looking out for us.....

They gotta pay for roads somehow.  Gas taxes seem more fair than a mileage tax unless they charge a sliding scale based on weight.  Heavier vehicles do way more damage to roads and they also use more fuel so therefore they pay more tax today.

The governor of Minnesota just vetoed a transportation funding bill a few weeks ago.  Without more road funding it will be faster to ride a bicycle or walk to work in another 10 years or less.
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JerryH
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« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2007, 07:20:10 PM »

What ... you all are surprised by the freakin' government agencies peeved because they're loosing revenue?  When Jim and I were in Arcadia at the last Bus Bash ... we saw a nifty MC-9 (I believe) powered by Veggie oil.  Nicely rigged up.

I walked away telling Jim it's only a matter of time until state agencies get their hands in on it.  There's NO way they're gonna allow their tax dollars slip by.

I see vehicles run by alternative fuels proudly displaying this fact on their bus, cars, pick up's ... whatever.  If I were them, I'd remove any and all signage regarding how their vehicle is fueled.  Why put a target on your bus.  You save money ... you're contributing to helping the environment ... Kudos!  Best keep it to yourself.

Just my $0.02,
Jerry H.
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Jerry32
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« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2007, 07:50:43 PM »

I see on the veggie oil forums that some are sending there tax dollars in to the state ...... Jewrry
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« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2007, 08:03:13 PM »

So Now, you are Fined for trying to save the Environment and some Money..


And they tell us Over and Over and Over again, This is a FREE Country  Huh

BULL CRAPP....

Are they Trying to provoke ARMED Revolution Huh

I happen to be one of those Almost on the edge Wigged out Viet Nam vets on Prozac.. If one of those Fed Scum came to my Door like that, He better have a Fast Draw...
I may be Free'er in Russia !!!!!!!!!!!!
This Commie Government has been breaking straws on my back for 40 years. Im getting mighty Frikin Low on them...... Angry
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« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2007, 10:24:20 PM »

US Gov't spends millions to develop alt. fuels, but Gosh forbid that some one finds an alternate by themselves, and the Gov't does not have their hand in the tax revenue stream.
Great point, Jerry32 about the electric and N Gas vehicles, as the Gov't spent billions to seed research and development of these vehicles.

Loose the bumper sticker, and refuel with the garage door closed.

God Bless America,

Gary
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« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2007, 05:52:49 AM »


Loose the bumper sticker, and refuel with the garage door closed.


Problem is though, as I have seen posted in forums by WVO users, you don't really need special equipment to spot a WVO vehicle.  The smell of the exhaust will give it away.

I think the best that can be hoped for is that they will remove the need for the bond and simplify the tax payment process.  They definitely aren't going to let anything happen to the fuel tax revenue stream.  I suspect that eventually it will be some adaptation of Oregon's test.
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« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2007, 06:16:14 AM »

We're thinking about doing the same with our M-B 300D turbodiesel and the MC-8.  I certainly wouldn't put a sticker advertising the fact on any of my vehicles.  As to the smell, if one's attentive, flipping a switch will change over to diesel.  It won't take long for that thirsty old 8V-71 to run through the veggie oil in the lines and start burning diesel again.  As long as diesel is in the main fuel tank, who's going to go poking around in an RV's tanks?  If one's really concerned with the 'smell giving it away' while driving down the road, if there's a diesel generator running, who's to say what's producing what smell?  These are a few, isolated (so far) cases.  I'm curious as to how many conversion drivers have ever had their fuel checked.  It would seem to me that if common sense is used, it won't be an issue.  I'd have no problem paying fuel tax on the miles driven; we enjoy NC's great roads.  Like most drivers, it's the fuel prices that we object to.

David
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