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Author Topic: Planning on using Veggie Oil? Better think again.  (Read 4174 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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« 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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« 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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« 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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« 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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« 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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« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2007, 08:01:07 AM »

Having been in a very high profile position for years, and getting feed back from customers over the years, this really isn't a wide spread issue, and of the 3 cases that i am aware of, they could have been totally avoided if the person would have been educated and approached the situation with some anatomy and knowledge.
In Arkansas we got legislation passed that exempts straight veggie oil and NewMexico is also a state where they have exempted it.
Most states, however have no clue what to do and have absolutely no way to police or track, and most states if asked tell people to go away and do it, we don't want to mess with it.
As far as David and Eileen Wetzel in Ill, within one week of that story there was a fallow up where the state government exempted SVO and got them off the hook.  In all cases it is petty bureaucrats who are doing it, but when it gets very high up the ladder, it is too political incorrect to bust someone for Alt. Fuel.
I understand that some of us are on a very fine line, but with no precedent on this someone has to stand up and be counted.  I for one want to be able to look my kids in the eye when I am old, and know that i did all I could to appose encroaching regulation on our freedom.
As Sam Adams once said,
".lf ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animated contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen. --Samuel Adams

Charles Anderson
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« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2007, 09:05:57 AM »

When using either WVO or SVO you must use a two-system fuel delivery; ie.: two tanks, two sets of fuel lines.

I have seen somewhere, a suggestion that the second system [veggie oil] be considered a 'fuel enhancement' system, similar to the water injectors in other days.

Treat the VO the same as you would such additives as fuel system cleaners and such, that require no road taxes.

I have no problem PAYING road taxes, I have a problem paying SELECTIVE road taxes.

It also seems that if the Government collects taxes on alternative fuels they should be willing to deduct from our taxes the cost of providing, supplying and delivery of these alternative fuels and fuel systems.

If WVO is used, it must be collected, filtered, stored and then put into the vehicle fuel tanks. The vehicles that use these fuels must also be altered, provided with additional storage tanks, switching system, etc. These are NOT zero cost procedures.

OK, time to put away the soap box, these are my thoughts.

Dale
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« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2007, 11:38:27 AM »

Grand opening
A biodiesel beginning


By BRETT CLANTON
Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle

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Harry Roehaufer, above, walks through a new biodiesel plant in Galveston. It celebrated its grand opening Tuesday.

It is one of the first large-scale facilities in North America to produce diesel fuel made from soybean oil and other renewable sources. With an initial production capacity of 20 million gallons a year, BioSelect Fuels and partner Chevron Corp. said the plant can be expanded to 110 million gallons a year. Among participants in Tuesday's celebration were U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas; U.S. Reps. Nick Lampson, D-Stafford, and Ron Paul, R-Lake Jackson; and Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas.

brett.clanton@chron.com

 



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Initially, they're using soybean oil for feeds. The plan to use a variety of other feeds, including imported palm oil. In the long run, they're developing technologies to use "non-food" feeds so there is no impact on food supplies.

They're currently planning to export most of their production because current pricing in Europe is more attractive. The European laws that encouraging the use of biodiesel are stronger than in the U.S., so pricing is more attractive there. In fact, many inland biodiesel plants in the U.S. are not operating because they can't make money here and don't have the ability to export.
6/1/2007 7:46:38 AM
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« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2007, 12:33:09 AM »

Just so you don't feel hard done by, here in OZ, DIY biodiesel maker/users are supposed to pay the federal fuel excise (about $1 a gallon) but those using straight vegetable oil seem to be excluded - maybe on the basis that it is an auxiliary fuel source rather than the prime source.
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« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2007, 11:09:49 AM »

Yup...lose them stickers and get a locking gas cap..Thats the way to foil that nonsense Wink
Using their logic...If I see a piece of furniture I like and decide to make it myself, I owe sales tax on the item for it's value I guess. Cripes.... Shocked What next Huh
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« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2007, 02:51:51 PM »

Using their logic...If I see a piece of furniture I like and decide to make it myself, I owe sales tax on the item for it's value I guess. Cripes.... Shocked What next Huh
Don't say it too loud  Wink  In some jurisdictions, it would be subject to personal property tax.
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« Reply #21 on: June 13, 2007, 08:28:38 PM »

they are not trying to charge sales tax on it but Fuel/road tax.

Gasoline you use in a boat is subject to the same road tax......here  in PA you fill out a form each year with your Estimated fuel use and the Dept of Fish and Game gets that tax money rather than the State DOT for roads as it was not road used.

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« Reply #22 on: June 13, 2007, 11:52:13 PM »

Is gathering, and burning waste vegetable oil Legal?
 
First lets break it down into 2 questions.
 
Question 1.
 Is it legal to gather waste vegetable oil.
 
Who knows?!?!  Depends on who you ask, where you live, how much you are hauling, And most importantly, Is anybody really asking?
For 99.9 % of the people who are using waste oil as a fuel, this is not even an issue for them.  They make a deal with a local restaurant, pick up a few jugs of oil every week, (which is basically a take out order of greasy fries, minus the fries) and go on about their business.  No one bothers them.  There is no reason to bother them.
The rendering companies, over the years, have paid for a few laws in a few states, that make it "illegal" to haul waste oil without a permit.  (its for your own good you know.  It is too dangerous for you to haul 10 gallons of used oil,  sitting next to the 10 gallons of new oil you  bought to fry a turkey and some fish in) The permit is usually $100 or under, and that is that.  The good old American way, use the force of government to favor one business, and require you to pay the ransom for the "right" to do something.  To my knowledge the only people who have ever paid attention to this law, is the rendering companies in very competitive oil markets in big cities.  The DA has better things to do than to prosecute a dangerous guy with 10 gallons of oil in the back of his Mercedes. I have only heard of 1 or 2 cases where guys that were collecting thousands of gallons of oil, and got into it with the Renderers, and had their hands slapped at the request of the renderers.  Like I said they are the only ones who care.  It is kind of like some one getting all excited and turning you in for having a garage sale and not collecting sales tax.  It isn't going to happen.  The only time the powers that be would care is if you went from a garage sale to a legitimate business open 5 days a week, then they want you to collect the tax.
 For most of our customers, they are gathering oil from places that don't have a recycling contract to begin.  To me it is a non issue.
There are many arguments you could make for it, how about this one.  The oil is food.  The restaurant is in the business of selling food, they sell allot of oil with their food.  You want the oil, The owner wants to give it to you, buy a burger and fries and ask for a healthy side of oil.  You are not hauling grease, you bought food.   Will it stand up in court?  I don't know?  The chances of you going there are nil.
There are many ways to approach it, use your imagination.
But a few things to remember are that people are not getting into trouble over this, and IF there is a "law"  it is very questionable if there is any relation to an individual picking up oil for personal use anyway.  Whether you burn it in your car feed it to your dogs, or use it to keep the dust down on your gravel road, It doesn't matter.
If you are gathering on a grand scale, or are in a particularly socialist state and are nervous about it, you might decide to get a renderers license.  I encourage everyone to do your home work, study it out in your own mind and decide where you stand on the issue.  Ultimately there are endless situations for a variety of different people.  It is up to you to decide what your tactic is going to be. 
For me personally, I am never for supporting and possibly furthering regulation on something that is so clearly harmless and a natural right.   If there is a grey area, which this certainly is, I will side with personal freedom and less regulation.  Some people are not comfortable with that.  It is for each person to decide for themselves.       
 
Question 2.
Is it legal to use vegetable oil as a fuel?
 
Most States have no idea where they stand on Vegetable oil as a fuel .  It is not an EPA recognized fuel, there for not a "legal" fuel .  (Neither is sunshine, water, peanut butter, or small mammals.)  Just because something isn't specifically legal, doesn't necessarily make it illegal. 
In 99% of the cases where people have gone to the state authority and asked "who do I pay for road tax, and how much?"  they are told "we don't know, we have no forms for it, and it isn't in the book, go away and don't worry about it."  Every once in awhile they will get the " You cant do that, you have to fill out the forms, pay the tax, and buy the secret decoder pen to be official!"  It is usually and arbitrary decision from a low level administrator that is looking for job security.   I have also heard of people getting two different answers out of the same office.  The bottom line is nobody really knows in most states, and more importantly very few care.  And if they care at all, it is usually positive because they see something good for the environment.
A very interesting point is, the states that will except a voluntary payment of highway tax, are doing so on a "non-legal" and unrecognized fuel.  I am sure there is room to explore the ramifications of that concept.
 
OK, so if there is confusion and different answers amongst the "officials" , then the question has to be asked, why is the question coming up?
Except for 2 instances I know of, which I will discuss later, the only reasons people are getting these varied answers, is because they are doing the asking.  This issue is not even on the radar, and the only reason it is coming up is people are asking.
This is really a grey area with white shades in our favor.   I have heard and thought of many very plausible arguments as to why using waste vegetable oil is exempt from taxes and is not under any specific jurisdiction.
Without going into great detail, I will mention a few for you to think about, and I am sure if you are inclined you can think of a few yourself. 
1. The oil is gathered for free, it is not bought or sold, so there is no taxable event.
2. Sales Tax was paid on the oil when it was bought by the restaurant.   
3. Because the vehicle is started and shut down on petroleum diesel, taxes are being paid on that portion, and the veggie oil is only a fuel extender or additive.
4. It is not a recognized fuel, and because of that there is no statute stating the rate of taxation.
5. You only burn veggie oil when you are on private property, or off road, and are not liable for taxes.
6. If no one is asking, (and even if they are) keep it to yourself.  It is no one else's business.
 
Now the 2 cases I know of where people were "turned in" "fined" or hassled by the Gubment,  They could have been totally avoided if the person would have been educated and approached the situation with some anatomy, knowledge and discretion.  The "agents" in both situations didn't have any precedent, they were just applying statute that was similar to see if it would fly. (remember that there is next to no precedent for SVO/WVO cases.)   The "guilty" parties were fined.  In both cases, within a week there was enough public outrage that the state legislatures passed  exemptions for the fines and set the precedent in the positive.  So in that sense the people who were involved did ok not resolving it at the scene.   The reality was, that once it got past the petty bureaucrats, and went up the line. no one was going to go after these guys for recycling and using a clean alternative fuel.  In this day and age it is political suicide to do it.
 
There is also a very positive movements in several states, and it is gaining momentum.
New Mexico and Illinois have "legalized" veggie oil.
But one of the most exciting was getting Act 690 passed into law in Arkansas in March 2007.
It redefines the law in Arkansas to exempt pure unmodified vegetable oil as a fuel.  Essentially saying that they will leave us to use it as we see fit, and they will not tax it or regulate it.  Since the passing of the bill several other states have requested information on the bill, and are looking to enact similar laws.
 
There are essentially 2 paths an individual can choose to take.
 
1. Seek out regulating agencies, determine if they will take your money, and if they will, volunteer how much oil you are using and pay them. 
 
2. Gather and burn veggie oil, save money, help the environment, don't support foreign oil, and take the very slight risk that at some point in the future you may have to explain why you chose to do what you did without asking permission and checking if it was OK first.
 
There are some people who do not feel comfortable with option 2, There is a risk that at some point you will have to explain yourself.  Everybody has to study the issue and make up their own minds on the issue.
 
At this point we are not on the radar, and there is no effort to go after veggie burners.  We are seen as hobbyist, and not a threat.  There are just too few of us, in the grand scheme of things, to spend the time to create a policy.   
 
In summery, all have to decide for themselves, taking into account their situation, where they live, and how they use the oil, which option they will go for.
 
                                                                                     Post Script
 
 
Now, although my personal position is probably apparent in this essay, I want to stand up and be counted, and state exactly where I personally stand on this issue.
I believe in personal freedom, and along with that personal responsibility.  I value my right to gather my own fuel in the private sector, without government intervention or permission, and to provide for the needs of my family.  I categorize it under "The pursuit of happiness"  It is a God given right, not a privilege granted by statute. 
I have not been quiet about my use of veggie oil as a fuel, I am in a high profile situation with my business, and the fact that my vehicles have the fact plastered all over them everywhere I drive.
 I feel that with the situation that we have, where we are being left alone for the most part, that we let things be.  But if the situation arises to make a difference or to get policy changed we need to be in the fore front and keep things in the private sector and as unregulated as possible.  The Exemption we were able to pass into law in Arkansas is a perfect example.  We don't need government help, just get out of our way and let us do it.
I understand that some of us are on a very fine line, between minding our own business and being perceived as thumbing our nose at the powers that be,  but with next to no precedent on most of these issues, someone has to stand up and be counted.   There is risk involved I for one want to be able to look my kids in the eye when I am old, and know that I did all I could to appose encroaching regulation on our freedom.  I hope that the present trend of exemptions for Veggie oil will continue, but if not, there is a need for people to stand up and do what they can to promote less regulation, and the freedom to be a part of the solution on the grass roots level.  Pollution and foreign oil are big problems, problems largely created by bad government policy.  I for one, am not going to wait around and hope more government policy will fix it. 
Yes, there is risk involved in any cause that is trying to change the status quo.   I want to be able to look my children in the eye when I am old, and know that I stood up for what I believed in, and did what I could to make the world a better place.   
 
This may seem like an extreme rant to some, and it may resonate with others.  Some may believe that in a business forum that I would be better served taking a bit more neutral approach, but why stop now!?!  At the risk of angering a few, and not being very politically correct;  I second the words of Samuel Adams,


".lf ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animated contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen. --Samuel Adams

Charles Anderson
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« Reply #23 on: June 14, 2007, 05:55:11 AM »

Thank you Charles! I also care.
 
   Sincerly,
     Chaz Kaiser   

   
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« Reply #24 on: June 14, 2007, 06:53:07 AM »

Whew, That was a long post, but very well written. Thanks.
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« Reply #25 on: June 14, 2007, 02:37:08 PM »

How much government is too much government.

As a Federal employee with one of the greatest organizations in the world, I also believe that "who governs least, governs best."

The problem with taxes is that the people who want to repeal our tax cuts and make the "rich" pay more (by rich I mean people who make $150,000 or more a year) are themselves exempt from those taxes. 

Do you honestly think that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid live exclusively on their pay as politicians?  What about Ted Kennedy?

No, they were already independently wealthy before they ever ran for office (you have to be these days).  They live on capital gains, not their "work" related income (that would be taxable).  Its the same reason they tell all of us to ride bicycles and eat rice, while they jetset all over the world in private jets, live in 250,000 square foot homes and zip around DC in their limo's (at taxpayer expense).  It's no wonder that Congress' approval ratings are even more dismal than Bush's.

Didn't mean to rant, BUT YOU BROUGHT IN ON YOURSELVES WITH THIS POST!!! 

Gone are the days of the citizen politicians who are running for office for the good of the country. 
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« Reply #26 on: June 14, 2007, 04:34:01 PM »


Gone are the days of the citizen politicians who are running for office for the good of the country. 

Well, actually they are still around, they just don't stand a chance of actually getting elected.  They know it, but they campaign anyway trying to draw political awareness to the issues they stand for.  There are also quite a few "good" people that decide they will "play the game" to get elected thinking they will then legislate by their values once elected.  But then they are either corrupted by the process or are briefed behind closed doors on their first day as to how the game works - "you back the party and its issues or the party won't back you and your's."
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Dreamscape
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« Reply #27 on: June 14, 2007, 08:42:31 PM »

I still would rather live here than anywhere else in the world!

Leaders in other countries are not doing any better job.

Yes, politics sucks. What is the alternative? Ask any Russian, Cuban or anybody else for that matter.

I LOVE THIS GREAT LAND!

Enough said!

Happy Trails,

Paul

Dreamscape
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« Reply #28 on: June 14, 2007, 10:23:44 PM »

Whatever fuel that is made from labor & cost of equipment to produce it for highway traveling is ONLY sold via a pump that include road tax figure.

So whoever use untaxed fuel to travel on our American Highways…they should be out there doing labor work & pay the cost out of their pocket to pay the designing, material, building and repairing roads.

Sure fuel prices is high but many WANTS fuel anyway to just go to get two loafs of bread & a package of cigarette instead of a large grocery cart full for 2 weeks supply. That what we did in the 40’s & 50’s while gas was 21 cents per gallon. Railroad back then did almost all of transporting to all of USA. Each train now can pull 100 cars of 100 tons each. Which is less traffic jams, highway damaging and use 2 person with 1/3 of fuel then trucks. All in all we had just as much fun then.

If we all use fuel wisely…it will be lowered but not until then.

Plus process BIO fuel is still cost as much and yet not enough farm land to produce near what we use now. So BIO fuel price will soar higher then what pay for now.

I was raise on my dad farm……weather is not always good to have good crop of soybean & corn.
Here in South Carolina is having very poor corn crop due to 8 inches short of rain this season.

FWIW

Sojourn for Christ, Jerry in Elloree, SC


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« Reply #29 on: June 15, 2007, 03:34:57 AM »

I still would rather live here than anywhere else in the world!

Leaders in other countries are not doing any better job.

Yes, politics sucks. What is the alternative? Ask any Russian, Cuban or anybody else for that matter.

I LOVE THIS GREAT LAND!


Absolutely!!!  We have all of the issues that are being discussed and many more.  The country is no longer what it was founded to be.  But it is still the only place I would choose to live.  There are other good democracies in the world, but this is ours.  Many of us have served to defend and protect this nation of ours, whether it be as military, police or fire services.  Many others have died for it.

Sojourner, you make excellent points as always.  I agree that fuel tax is an obligation that should not be averted.  I think most here agree.  Within the scope of the original topic of this thread, it is the trend and methods of selective enforcement that are angering some.  That, and lower level bureaucrats trying to force a guy in his garage straining a barrel of used oil from a restaurants fryer to pay all the fees and maintain all the forms as a trillion dollar oil company.

I also agree that consumption level is driving price.  But not simply in the U.S. anymore.  Consumption in China and India is climbing rapidly and will continue to do so as these two countries continue the development.  Together they account for over half the world's population, they will eventually consume much more than the U.S. This will drive the cost of petroleum so high, people will look back on $3 fuel the way we now remember 15¢ per gallon gas.  This is why all forms of alternative fuel need to be fully explored and those doing it should be encouraged.  The pioneers, big and small, are the ones that are investing in the exploration and putting their engines at risk if they fail.  From that standpoint, I don't think it is really wrong if they are free of road taxes for awhile.  In fact, I support federal/state tax credits for individuals to help with their equipment expense.
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