Fines And Felony Charges For Letting Your Car Run On Restaurant Vegetable Oil?

from the not-such-a-good-thing dept

There have been numerous stories recently about people converting their cars to run on leftover vegetable oil from restaurant kitchens. Many restaurants need to get rid of that oil anyway, and are more than happy to give it away for nothing or next to nothing (though, obviously that would change as demand grows). While this seems like a great example of one way that people can help take a step away from the oil addiction the government is apparently afraid of, it seems that (oops) the government isn't going to make it very easy for people.

Yehuda Berlinger points us to the bureaucratic insanity faced by a retired couple in Illinois who simply want to drive their vegetable oil-fueled car, but now face huge fines and possible felony charges for doing so. The details sound like they're right out of a bad movie. They've owned the car for while and they fuel it up using leftover restaurant cooking oil. However, earlier this year, two officials knocked on their door from the Illinois Department of Revenue, telling the couple that they were violating the law by not paying an additional motor fuel tax. The couple did the calculations on how much tax they needed to pay, and while annoying, it wasn't outrageous. However, in order to pay, they first needed to get approved for a license as a "special fuel supplier" or "receiver." Except... the process to become approved for such a license requires a $2,500 bond, and the forms are designed for businesses not individuals. The couple then received a letter saying they needed to stop being a special fuel supplier or receiver until they were licensed to be such -- but the details of how you qualify to be either a special fuel receive or supplier showed that they qualified as neither. Yet, the state still insisted that they had to get such a license, because otherwise they had no way to collect the tax. They then noted that operating as a special fuel supplier or receiver without the necessary license was a felony.

The government says that it's trying to make the process easier, but the whole concept seems ridiculous. As the guy notes, based on these arguments, shouldn't Toyota Prius drivers also have to pay a special motor fuel tax for the times when it's driving using electricity rather than fuel? After all, what's the real difference between powering the car with electricity generated by the vehicle compared to powering it with leftover vegetable oil? As for the government making the process easier, it's not like this is an entirely new concept. Over in Wales there was nearly an identical situation about five years ago that actually resulted in police impounding the vegetable oil-powered cars. It's difficult to see how you move people away from an addiction to oil when you make it impossible to actually stop using oil cost effectively.

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  1. identicon
    un known, 23 May 2007 @ 8:14pm

    making your on full. if you can get away with it?

    for give me if i mis spell eney words well its like this eney one could make there on fule the problem is that if you do thin that hurts the rich man wher it hurts and we all know wher that is at dont we? money runs the world but onley a fue people haue that power and the rest of us ar the way thay get rich its our own fault that things ar the way thar ar we could change things if ever one would stick to gether dut how to do that is beond me know one wonts to help other people in this day and time now one even thinks about eney one eals... the days of naber helping naber ar gone most people dont even know ther naber so how do you get people like that to work to gether i can not sea most americans making ther own fule can you thay ar to bisey to even stop and think the whole fule thing over yes thay will gripe about it while filling there cars trucks mineyvans what ever els up at the gass stashion but thats all thay will do i think thay ar all eather stupied or afrade doth mounts to about the same thingin my book i think we as americans have the right to make our on fule for our on use i dont think eney one has the right to tell us how to live oure one lives were not babes that we need people telling us how to live our lives if i have a horse do ihave to pay taxes on the food he eats not if i rase it my self what i rase my self is mine not the goverments or the ststes it belongs to me and me alone to do with what i. wont or is that aginst the law to if not it soon will be you know the old saying dont bite the hand that feeds you? we feed the world and as long as we by our fule frome the other guy thats ok. but if we make our fule thin wer up the creek wit a paddle or a boot. so all i can say is if i new the ancher to the quistion thin i would tell you so what do we do? i gess we keep giving all our money to the other guy you would think he would have anuf to do him but i ges he is after it all dont you

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