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NC Man Fined For Using Vegetable Oil As Fuel

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the can't-believe-it's-not-butter dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 909

mdsolar writes "The News and Observer reports on an Charlotte, NC driver who has been fined $1000 for not paying a fuel tax when he fills his tank with vegetable oil. Perhaps the funniest quote is this one: '"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."' Sure, since the field is so plainly tilted against Arab oil interests."

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Regardless (4, Insightful)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486479)

Regardless of whether the law is against him or not, the very fact the state is going to fine him is going to be bad press for the state itself.

So what? It's North Carolina... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19486577)

I mean, seriously. I'm guessing they charge cowboys there the same fuel tax on oats to feed their horses.

bad press for the state itself. (5, Insightful)

drgonzo59 (747139) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486829)

bad press for the state itself.


So what? The people will move out of the state because of it? Someone who has a good job, children in school and family members will decide to move because the state fined someone $2k for using unauthorized fuel? What else would happen, the state will be ranked last on 'environment friendly states' list? In other words, the state is not the same as a company, a state's bad image is harder to link to immediate loss of profits.

Re:bad press for the state itself. (4, Insightful)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486877)

Depending on the state legislature, it may or may not end up pushing some citizens to contact their state legislators to provide an exemption.

Re:Regardless (2, Informative)

Zarf (5735) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486953)

Does it help that the state version of the IRS is trying to get him out of the fine because even the tax man seems to disagree with taxing biodiesel? From the article:

The state Department of Revenue, which fined Teixeira, has asked legislators to waive the $2,500 bond for small fuel users. The department also told Teixeira, after the Observer asked about his case this week, that it will compromise on his fine.
Apparently the people responsible for carrying out the fine can't get the people responsible for drafting the laws to lift the fine... typical government run-around.

WOOT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19486485)

Firts post!

Biodiesel (5, Funny)

narced (1078877) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486487)

Does anyone else get hungry when they smell biodiesel exhaust? Reminds me of McDonald's.

Re:Biodiesel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19486551)

I get so hungry I could eat lawsuits for breakfest.

Re:Biodiesel (4, Funny)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486563)

Yeah, makes me want to throw up a few hours later. Reminds me of McDonald's too.

Re:Biodiesel (2, Funny)

glittalogik (837604) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486613)

That's probably why the Irish highway-patrol-equivalent force responsible for 'sniffing out' biofuel offenders was nicknamed The Frying Squad.

Re:Biodiesel (1)

bdjacobson (1094909) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486617)

Does anyone else get hungry when they smell biodiesel exhaust? Reminds me of McDonald's.
That's the great thing about these cars and other DIY modifications. Half the time it IS McDonalds. And $20 says they'll give it to you free for the reason you just gave.

Re:Biodiesel (1)

Taco Meat (1104291) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486713)

When I eat white castle or a steak and a good oatmeal stout, I produce some mean bio-fuel. I don't think it makes anyone hungry, though. Unless if by hungry you mean projectile vomiting.

mmm (0, Flamebait)

Ojuice (638639) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486497)

Nerds everywhere must squeegy their foreheads and use the oil harvested there-in to power their Pinto's!

Hell hath NO fury (5, Insightful)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486507)

Like a woman scorned?

HARDLY.

That pales in comparison with the fury of a government that isn't getting it's "cut".

We truly lost our freedoms when it became accepted that the government has an inalienable right to a "cut" of ALL transactions!

Re:Hell hath NO fury (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486685)

Normally, I'm against libertarian notions like this, but this is the danger of governments. I mean, the concept is square and solid for businesses dealing in fuels, but what about average joes trying to get by with biodiesel or other forms of power?

Re:Hell hath NO fury (5, Insightful)

WCMI92 (592436) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486733)

"Normally, I'm against libertarian notions like this, but this is the danger of governments. I mean, the concept is square and solid for businesses dealing in fuels, but what about average joes trying to get by with biodiesel or other forms of power?"

Presumably taxes were paid on the stuff that made the bio fuel oil in every phase of transaction. The farmer paid taxes, the producer paid taxes, the McDonalds paid taxes, those who bought the fries fried in the oil paid taxes, etc.

How many times should the government be able to tax one product?

Re:Hell hath NO fury (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486915)

Depends.

I don't mind double, triple or quadruple taxation. It's when you're taxing an individual like you would a company... it's not like he was making money off of it.

Re:Hell hath NO fury (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19486787)

That pales in comparison with the fury of a government that isn't getting it's "cut".
A government isn't getting it is [angryflower.com] cut?
 

Fair enough (4, Interesting)

G-funk (22712) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486509)

It's fair enough really. The tax is for road usage, not petrol usage. The bowser is just the fairest place to take it. That's why farmers get to use a "special" coloured diesel that has less tax on it.

Re:Fair enough (5, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486579)

no, road use is what vehicle rego is for. This is just petty to the fucking extreme. i wonder how in the world he got done for it in the first place, surely not enough people are doing this for the government to have crack down on it to protect their precious taxes.

this is all besides the fact that why is it anyones business what i use to run my car? am i dodging fuel taxes by using an electic car?

Re:Fair enough (1)

DaveWick79 (939388) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486619)

Sssshhhhh... They might start putting the road fuel tax on my already expanding electric bill.

I think the point is that the oil companies have such a stranglehold on the political scene because of the money they inject, that they use a few cases like this against small fry to try to discourage anyone from thinking about alternate fuels.

They should think about repealing the road fuel tax rather than spending thousands of dollars to prosecute someone for a $1000 fine. Maybe that would give us some relief.

Re:Fair enough (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486973)

I think the point is that the oil companies have such a stranglehold on the political scene because of the money they inject, that they use a few cases like this against small fry to try to discourage anyone from thinking about alternate fuels that don't come from said companies

most of the oil companies (not all, but a good majority of them i believe) are investing rather heavily in alternative energy research, including ethanol, bio-diesel, et all, as they know they're lamp oil salesmen (no pun intended) and the light bulb is coming, so they want to get in on the ground floor rather than get left in the dust.

Re:Fair enough (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486635)

Don't know what you pay for vehicle registration, but I doubt very much it's enough to pay for the roads you drive on.

Here it's actually illegal for the government to charge more for a service (like vehicle registration) than it actually costs to provide the service. Gas taxes definitely do pay for road usage and the fine for driving with purple (farm) gas without the proper license plate is high. Using untaxed biodiesel is the same thing, unless you send in your donation to the public.

Re:Fair enough (5, Funny)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486665)

"illegal for the government to charge more for a service (like vehicle registration) than it actually costs to provide the service"

You sir, amuse me.

Re:Fair enough (2, Interesting)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486729)

and if you drive an electric car?

Re:Fair enough (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486881)

If enough people start using "plug-in electrics", then yes, the government will have to find a way to make up for the loss in gas tax revenue. My guess is that they will just base it on the odometer reading during your state inspection. They could also tax tires or some other consumable like batteries. The government will find a way to pay for roads - of that much I am certain :)

Re:Fair enough (4, Interesting)

dabraun (626287) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486737)

Of course there is no system in place for paying taxes on your alternative-source fuel, nor, to my knowledge, any actual law in place saying that you can't use an alternative fuel (other than farm gas) on a public road.

If the system of taxing based on gas is broken, fix it - though at this stage of the game the number of people driving with something other than normal fuel is so low it's hardly worth worrying about.

It would cost more to pass and enforce the law, make a system for recieving funds from the fuel etc than they would make on it. If the number became high enough there would be a distribution system in place (vegetable oil at the pump) which could effectively tax it.

Nevermind that growing crops to create fuel oil has so many environmental problems that it shouldn't even be considered at this point.

Re:Fair enough (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486963)

Personally I think this was all done with the wrong excuses. I think they would look like less of a laughingstock by reminding the guy that his car is registered with a GASOLINE engine, and he's using a different fuel than that which is registered. So the car gets impounded, and a $1000 fine must be paid to get it back. The "tax" thing is bullshit - if there's no law against it specifically, then it's NOT against the law. I wish the guy luck. I hope he wins.

Re:Fair enough (1)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486705)

"no, road use is what vehicle rego is for."

Road use funds come from gas taxes as well as vehicle registration fees.

Using phrases like "how he got done for" makes me think you must be British, so you have an excuse for being ignorant of how things work in the U.S.

A good part of the gas tax is federal and goes into the national budget. It's then apportioned out in the annual Federal Highway Bill, which funds interstate highway projects and some totally useless make-work stuff like the now-infamous "bridge to nowhere" in Alaska.

But different states split up their use taxes differently. Washington (the state, not Washington D.C.) used to have very high registration fees, but the voters felt that this was unfair and used the initiative process to get them lowered to a flat $30. So now the state gets most of its highway funds from gas taxes.

Re:Fair enough (1)

coredog64 (1001648) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486779)

Much of the money that WA state took in via registration fees went into the general fund. When the "this is just rich people balking at paying to register their Lexus" meme didn't gain the appropriate amount of traction supporters of the status quo fell back on "won't somebody please think of the children".

AZ also has relatively high registration fees (i.e. it's a percentage of the cost of the vehicle and not some use fee by vehicle type or weight) and I'm pretty sure most of that goes into the general fund here as well.

It's worth noting that the money that goes back to the states is usually provided as federal matching funds, not an outright grant -- the state has to come up with 50% of whatever it is they're wasting, er, spending the money on.

Re:Fair enough (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19486717)

So you are saying you would not rat out a neighbor that runs one of his two cars on dead babies and the other one on powdered plutonium?

Incidentally, I am looking for a nice suburban house with a two-car garage...

Re:Fair enough (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486857)

So you are saying you would not rat out a neighbor that runs one of his two cars on dead babies and the other one on powdered plutonium?

Well, will he give me a ride to work sometimes? Because, I'm telling you, the cost of gas is just killer these days.

Re:Fair enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19486777)

road use is what vehicle rego is for

Dumbass. Registration Tax is a payment to REGISTER the car - for the plates, compulsory insurance, etc.

Its nowhere near enough money to actually pay for the roads. (Not that NC is justified doing this.)

Fair's Fair (4, Interesting)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486641)

NC has a 20.2 cpg subsidy for B20 http://www.globalsubsidies.org/IMG/pdf/biofuels_su bsidies_us.pdf [globalsubsidies.org] which he is not getting since he is buying his oil at the store. Since he is basically using B100, the state should be paying him 5*20.2-29.9(use tax)=71.1 cpg. So, fining him for this seems about as funny as it gets.
--
No Joke! Rent solar power and fix your electric rates for 25 years: http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/01/slashdot-users -selling-solar.html [blogspot.com]

Not fair. (3, Interesting)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486699)

The tax is for road usage, not petrol usage.

This is true but charging the biodiesel user hardly "levels the playing field" and the punishment is silly. Big oil people have far greater resources for figuring taxes owed and paying them. If the state wanted to be fair, they could have figured the taxes for him and demanded payment. Slapping him with a fine in excess of what's owed is only something that should be done if he used the kind of scam accounting big oil companies use.

Something stinks and it's not biodiesel.

Even worse (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486825)

It looks like the fuel is tax exempt in any case: http://www.eere.energy.gov/afdc/progs/view_ind.cgi ?afdc/5664/0 [energy.gov] . So, the tax guys didn't know their own law! OMG PONIES LOL!!!!!
--
If you don't pay tax to rent a generator, then don't pay tax for electricity (no fuel so no tax): http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/01/slashdot-users -selling-solar.html [blogspot.com]

Re:Even worse (1)

rayzat (733303) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486927)

The link you posted lists alternative fuels as sales and use tax free not fuel tax free. The fuel tax in NC was suppose to be used maintance and expansion of the roads. Since NCs fuel tax is part flat fee and part percentage they have actually been running surplus with the high gas prices, which they have been using to pay down some of the education bonds and teacher raises.

The "bowser?" (2, Insightful)

StarKruzr (74642) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486735)

No, it's not the fairest place. How about tolls?

Reduce the price of fuel and charge more in road tolls. Now you don't have to worry about discouraging people from using biofuels.

Eh? (2, Insightful)

Sesostris III (730910) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486527)

Since when has any fuel tax collected gone towards Arab oil interests?

Sesostris III

Re:Eh? (3, Interesting)

DaveWick79 (939388) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486707)

It goes toward Arab oil interests because it penalizes the consumer for using anything but gasoline, therefore shuttling more dollars toward the big oil machine. Yes, you could say that there is no more tax than you would pay for gasoline, but if you're not getting a price break to use alternative fuels, it's not going to happen.

Re:Eh? (1)

adminstring (608310) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486711)

You are correct. Only Federal income tax goes towards Arab oil interests (for example, by using our military to keep the Saudi monarchy in power.) Federal gas taxes are specifically earmarked for transportation.

Re:Eh? (1)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486791)

Good point. Did you know that the #1 importer of oil to America is Canada?

Re:Eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19486863)

Good point. Did you know that the #1 importer of oil to America is Canada?

Actually, Canada is the #1 exporter of oil to America :)

(pedantic)

Re:Eh? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486911)

Since when has any fuel tax collected gone towards Arab oil interests?

      Hmmm what is asphalt made of? Crushed stone and - bitumen - a petroleum product! And guess what - the stone isn't the expensive part. So yes, a lot of all fuel tax goes towards arab oil interests.

I'm not familiar (1)

Sigmon (323109) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486555)

with NC's constitution... but since when is it the government's responsibility to make sure the playing field is 'level' - at least in this situation?

they were hunting for biofuel users to fine (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19486557)

revenue investigators were checking fuel tanks of diesel RVs for illegal fuel. The investigators spotted Teixeira's passing bumper sticker: "Powered by 100% vegetable oil."
They were specifically hunting for individual bio-fuel users to make a point.

Hopefully they will lose the point in legislature and put the investigators on the unemployment line. Just another version of cops with bad attitudes and power trips.

Re:they were hunting for biofuel users to fine (1)

LameAssTheMity (998266) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486883)

This was not an investigatory maneuver, the Charlotte Observer ran an article about his bio-fueled vehicle. Just an extreme case of some legislator thinking "Hey! How can we get money out of this guy?" Its a shame that this tax money doesn't go towards the roads in Mecklenburg County, the street conditions are the worst in the state.

Re:they were hunting for biofuel users to fine (4, Informative)

gone6713 (807581) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486949)

They weren't hunting for bio-fuel users. The illegal fuel they were looking for was diesel purchased for farm use. When you buy diesel for farm use you don't pay the road taxes on it, which can be around 30 cents a gallon, but you aren't supposed to use it on the road. It is a common thing around where i'm from (Nebraska farm country). They dye the farm diesel so that troopers can tell what type it is.

The problem is... (3, Interesting)

m0ng0l (654467) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486575)

That most states use some or all of the fuel taxes to help defray the cost of road improvements / maintenance (no one said they do a *good* job of this) Someone who is "home-brewing" fuel, whether it be bio-diesel, ethanol, or used cooking oil, ends up essentially using the roads for "free" as they don't pay the fuel tax.

I few options might be to allow home-fuelers to purchase a license (cheap), and be expected to pay more on the yearly state taxes. The license would allow the state to put the tax payment on the honor system (sort of like Michigans' expectation that people will report how much stuff they bought over the internet, and pay the appropriate state taxes on it), with some sort of check. Perhaps a random checking of X percent of the licensees state tax return, and go after the people who didn't pony up. Even go so far as to keep it (relatively) friendly, offer them the chance to pay the extra, no penalty, no crime, if they pay, subject dropped, if not, get mean. By keeping it friendly, there would be the hope of more people switching, get enough people using home-fueling, and then you can start selling licenses for fuel stations, providing alternative fuel(s), and charging the state fuel tax per-gallon, and phase out the licenses at that time.

While I don't know about the laws here in Michigan regarding this sort of thing, I know they've been floating the idea of doing away with the gas tax, and instead raising the sales tax. The thinking being that this would get visitors from out-state paying a bit more, so even if they don't fill up, they're still paying (some) towards the roads they drive on...

bio-fuel is subsidized by govt, raises food prices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19486767)

When you buy biodeisel made with vegetable oil or corn in the form of ethanol you are ripping off tax payers. These jackasses are just making food more expensive.

The only viable long term solution is wind, solar and tide power. The other alternative energy forms require more inputs than they produce outputs and cannot exist without huge government subsidies.

Re:bio-fuel is subsidized by govt, raises food pri (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486893)

When you buy biodeisel made with vegetable oil or corn in the form of ethanol you are ripping off tax payers. These jackasses are just making food more expensive.

      Hey wait a minute. This is the same government that pays farmers subsidies NOT to plant?

Re:bio-fuel is subsidized by govt, raises food pri (1)

jibjibjib (889679) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486957)

So you're essentially saying other people should never buy stuff because increasing demand raises the prices and pisses you off.

Re:The problem is... (1)

uvajed_ekil (914487) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486819)

That most states use some or all of the fuel taxes to help defray the cost of road improvements / maintenance (no one said they do a *good* job of this) Someone who is "home-brewing" fuel, whether it be bio-diesel, ethanol, or used cooking oil, ends up essentially using the roads for "free" as they don't pay the fuel tax.

That's one way to look at it. At this point, we need to encourage people to find and use alternative fuels. These folks are still very few and far between, so if it takes letting them use the roads for free to get them to keep doing their thing, we can pay the extra 1% that they won't. I don't know whether they should be sold cheap licenses to use their fuels or made exempt from certain taxes or whatever, but I do know we shouldn't punish them for being forward-thinking and doing a good thing.

Re:The problem is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19486847)

Plenty of money comes out of the general fund to pay for roads, don't let the government fool you. We're taxed to death as it is.

However, how does this apply to LNG-powered cars? Fuel cell powered cars? Electric cars? Hell, are they going to tax my bicycle on the days I bike to work?

How about trimming the fat of the government, so services are limited to protecting borders, punishing murderers, sex offenders, and burglars, building roads, _maybe_ running schools, and leaving it at that? A lot of money would be freed up in the private sector so that families can take care of needy or disabled relatives, or they would donate more to churches and other organizations which used to fill that role, and then everyone will win? No need to hide taxes in property taxes, fuel prices, alcohol prices (I don't drink at all by the way), and miscellaneous contrived "user fees" which serve nothing but to enable the lazy to suckle off of the government teat.

Shame on NC for fining someone who is trying to make a difference.

Re:The problem is... (1)

scoove (71173) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486909)

most states use some or all of the fuel taxes to help defray the cost of road improvements

Inefficient, ineffective tax collection means isn't our problem. What do we need to do to get our progressive brothers on the same side of the table with us libertarians who're tired of complicated tax schemes that only empower central governmental authority and punish innovation?

Too much of the U.S. government is about the empowerment of the state. Highway speed enforcement, as even my state patrol buddies attest, has nothing to do with safety and everything to do with revenue generation. Fees here, fines there, and taxes everywhere. A government obsessed with collecting our money is one that has lost track of its primary purpose. Protection of the environment, the individual and our country no longer matter. It's all about fat-cat government bureaucrats making a buck.

If you're pissed about evil oil companies, Halliburton, etc., then please consider this for a moment: What doesn't matter in math and economics is the size of numbers. Freaking idiots get wound up about seeing more zeros behind an number and believe that's relevant. What does matter is normalized ratios. If you're too stupid to understand these math basics, then you're screwed in life anyways so don't bother. In otherwords, it's about ratios. If British Petroleum makes a trillion dollars in profit, but only has a 2% margin, they're making a lousy return for the risk they're taking. If any investor (e.g. your pension fund at work) is putting money into BP for a crappy 2% return, they're insane. There are much lower risk investments they should be in instead.

When you look at the actual returns of big oil, it's pretty sucky respective to the risk. But try this on for size: while a gallon of gas at the station only makes a nickel to a dime for the gas company, the government is making a couple of quarters. Why? What did they risk for that gallon of gas? The answer is unfortunate; they risked nothing. Why did you let these government fat cats take you for 4 to 5 times the "profit" while they risked absolutely nothing? Why are you paying them such outlandish fees? Haven't you figured out you've got "sucker" written on your forehead in their eyes?

If you're having a hard time with the risk/return concept, put yourself in the equation: If you work 2 hours a week surfing your favorite websites, you're really not putting much to risk and you'd probably agree that you shouldn't be paid much. But if you bust your ass and work 60 hours a week putting all you have into something, you've really stretched out and deserve a chance at making a lot more, right? Oil companies, as unpopular as they are, risk many billions per platform, oil rig, etc. and pray they don't get bit by hurricanes, government nationalization (e..g Venezuela were 'all your oil rigs are belong to us'), greedy government taxes, etc. Consider putting $100,000 of your own money at risk when you know there's a damn good chance the government will claim it, you'll come up dry on your speculation, or the damn weather will wipe you out. What kind of return do you demand for this kind of risk? I'll betcha it's a hell of a lot more than the oil companies are making.

But not our government. The fat cats in DC and our state houses are never full.

*scoove*

...so? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19486583)

Fuel taxes are supposed to pay for building and maintaining roads used by motorists. This guy's vehicle is putting wear and tear on public streets just like everyone else's, but he isn't paying his fair share of the cost. I know Slashdotters love will take any half-reason to carp about Big Brother cracking down on their rights, but this a stretch even for here.

Re:...so? (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486643)

so when you pay your car rego it's just your gift to the government is it? that's the fee you pay to use the road. are they going to that busting people using fuel efficent or electric for tax evasion next? " you there sir, why aren't you driving a v8 urban tank, your avoiding fuel taxaren't you!?"

Oil companies own America (3, Insightful)

uncoveror (570620) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486591)

I thought harassing alternative fuel pioneers was ridiculous when it happened in the UK, [uncoveror.com] and railed against it. Now it is happening in the US too. Oil companies own us like dealers own their junkies. It sucks.

$1.2 BILLION!??!! What a crock! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19486593)

With its 29.9-cent a gallon gas tax, the state collects $1.2 billion each year to pay for road construction.

BULLSHIT! There is NO WAY they spend that much on construction or maintenance in a year!

People we are getting robbed blind here and punished anytime we try to make a decision for ourselves.

For the love of god: RON PAUL 2008 !!!!

Re:$1.2 BILLION!??!! What a crock! (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486761)

Don't forget the federal fuel tax which gets redistributed back to the states (to pay for important transportation needs like whale museums and bridges to nowhere).

Re:$1.2 BILLION!??!! What a crock! (2, Insightful)

Smight (1099639) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486797)

Well you have to realize you need at least three supervisors on site for each guy actually working. For those supervisors you need to have a commissioner to decide how quickly to raise everyones pay so they can complain they'll have to fire people if they don't get a tax increase. You also need to have secretaries to explain why the commisioner is too busy to take your call and to transfer you to someone else. And of course you need to have some Pr person to get transferred to to let you know that the commissioner is doing all they can to tighten the budget and fight against the other commisioners that are the real problem. Throw in lawyers, janitors, payroll, and expense accounts and you'll see how just filling a pothole can easily cost more then you make in a year.

Vote Republocrat!
YOU HAVE NO CHOICE!

Re:$1.2 BILLION!??!! What a crock! (2, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486855)

People we are getting robbed blind here and punished anytime we try to make a decision for ourselves.

Welcome to the New World Order. Oh, and expect a visit from the police soon, dissenter. Don't worry, we'll make up the charges when we get there.

Re:$1.2 BILLION!??!! What a crock! (1)

UnCivil Liberty (786163) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486913)

A worth while quote for those asking why the government doesn't do more to lower gas prices, they are part of the reason the prices are so high in the first place.

looking for that hole... (2, Interesting)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486637)

ok, media today, we all know, is sensational. They leave out details that would make everything less bad-looking, and stretch details that make things look worse.

Looking at this, I have to assume such is occuring. Perhaps he's supposed to...no, that doesn't make sense. Maybe he...no, not that either.

Ok, I give. What am I missing? How in the heck does this actually make sense? I'm generally the one laughing at the conspiracy nuts, and explaining what the news left off that shows that BigBrother isn't actually hell-bent on making your life, specifically, a living hell. You're not so important that it's worth it to go out of the way to monitor every move you make, every call, every email, every purchase, to the nth degree.

All that withstanding, what the heck? Where's the hole I'm missing?

Re:looking for that hole... (2, Interesting)

Zarf (5735) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486891)

All that withstanding, what the heck? Where's the hole I'm missing?

Actually, it's quite simple. The state wants tax dollars to pay for roads. All cars drive on roads... even bio-diesel cars... from the article:

With its 29.9-cent a gallon gas tax, the state collects $1.2 billion each year to pay for road construction.
...and there certainly is a lot of road construction in this state in response to the mushrooming population. Land prices are still rising fast enough to double every five years due to incessant demand for more housing.

The unfortunate truth is that governments tend to react slowly and tend to not be very smart. This poor guy is ... well let me just quote the article again...

Teixeira says revenue officials are just doing their jobs. But he thinks it's unfair that he was lumped with people who purposely try to avoid fuel taxes.
...lumped in with those who are trying to dodge legitimate taxes because the law does not yet recognize the nature of the issue. It's not like there's a bio-diesel tax or anything... the guy's just driving on roads and not paying the taxes that pay for the roads.

... and did you miss:

He has been told to expect another $1,000 fine from the federal government.
... that means North Carolina isn't the only ignorant government at work here the Federal government wants its cut too! That would have been so even if the fella lived in Georgia or South Dakota. I'm sure the Federal tax has the same rationale and same flaw.

Re:looking for that hole... (1)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486961)

Depends on where/how he's getting the grease. If he is buying it from a supplier and not paying any applicable sales tax, or if there's some sort of quota on manufacturing your own fuel (there's a limit to how much you can homebrew before you need a brewing license for example), then maybe there's some regulation that would make some sort of sense.

However, he's been busted for a fuel tax [dornc.com] (info courtesy of North Carolina's Department of Revenue), which charges a flat tax per gallon, plus a percent of wholesale prices, plus an inspection tax. Oh, and there's also a tax for being a bulk end-user of alternative fuels [dornc.com] , which may also be what he's being busted on. Yes, there really is a North Carolina tax on being an end-user of alternative fuels. Oh, and if the oil isn't pure oil, but contains something else (due to cooking fish or potatos), then that second document states that he must get a license as a blender AS WELL. (Exceptions only apply to those creating a minimal amount of blend to start an engine - if you can run a car off it, you need to pay.)

These are straight off NC's own website, they're not interpretations by anyone, they're not downloaded and modified in The Gimp, these are what NC really charge. And, yes, you can claim tax back, but you can't get back what you haven't paid. And they get the interest off the money in the meantime, you don't. (That's why I detest getting taxes back - they got not only the use of the extra money, but they get to keep whatever was made off it. I don't care if they're not supposed to, nobody gets into government if they're risk-averse.)

Re:looking for that hole... (1)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486981)

Hey, maybe there aren't Men in Black who have a team of guys devotedly specifically to 'getting' this guy, but do you think it's possible that he's just a casualty in the machinations of the various laws, rules, and regulations of the state bureaucracy? That things don't always work out fairly in the world? Not because of conspiracy, but because of chance an unintended consequences?

And by the way, have you ever heard of the Total Information Awareness [wikipedia.org] program? In the olden days, it was too expensive to have one secret police officer for every citizen. Nowadays, we have computers do to the busywork. The columnist William Saffire described it thusly:

Every purchase you make with a credit card, Every magazine subscription you buy and medical prescription you fill, Every Web site you visit and e-mail you send or receive, Every academic grade you receive, Every bank deposit you make, Every trip you book and every event you attend --- All these transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department describes as 'a virtual, centralized grand database.' [Emphasis Mine]
Supposedly the program itself has been disbanded, but it looks like it's functionality has just be split to various sub-programs. Wikipedia says that "An unknown number of TIA's functions have been merged under the codename 'Topsail'." MS NBC [msn.com] says "[T]oday, very quietly, the core of TIA survives with a new codename of Topsail (minus the futures market), two officials privy to the intelligence tell NEWSWEEK. ... "It is truly Poindexter's brainchild. " So with all of this electronic data from different programs, what's to keep them from conglomerating it all into a giant virtual database, to get the functionality they couldn't get under the original program? Didn't the DoD describe it as a 'virtual database' in the first place, according to Saffire?

What about electric cars? (2, Interesting)

th3rmite (938737) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486693)

This pisses me off to no amount. I actually had been planning to convert an old diesel VW to a "grease car", which actually runs off of unmodified vegetable oil, not bio diesel. So which makes me think, using the states logic, if all electric vehicle owners will be fined in the future? What about bicycle riders who use the roads? Maybe we should have a tiered tax based on mileage. High mileage cars pay higher rates...

Re:What about electric cars? (1)

ProfM (91314) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486907)

Maybe we should have a tiered tax based on mileage. High mileage cars pay higher rates...


SHHHHH .... don't give them ideas. Before we know it we'll have the gas tax AND mileage tax.

Uhmm ... you didn't read anything ....

Correction: NC Man Fined For Using NC Roads (4, Insightful)

Fred Ferrigno (122319) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486695)

C'mon, you could at least mention that the gas tax is really an indirect tax on road use. You might even point out that the fine is intended to offset his use of the NC road system and has absolutely nothing to do with how he fuels his car.

Do we want to subsidize motorists who use alternate fuels by exempting them from the taxes on road use? Maybe, maybe not. But they're not exempt yet, so this guy has to pay his fair share. Not that surprisingly, really.

Re:Correction: NC Man Fined For Using NC Roads (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486843)

C'mon, you could at least mention that the gas tax is really an indirect tax on road use. You might even point out that the fine is intended to offset his use of the NC road system and has absolutely nothing to do with how he fuels his car.

Do we want to subsidize motorists who use alternate fuels by exempting them from the taxes on road use?


      So what about cars powered by LP? Electricity?

      Oh, and aren't the roads paid for? Or what exactly is all that OTHER tax we pay every single transaction go for? Healthcare? A world class educational system? Or to line politicians' (and corporations') pockets and kill our youth in Iraq?

How are they supposed to know? (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486751)

I mean in the general case, not this particular one, how are they going to ever know that someone is running their diesel fuel car with used vegetable oil?

And how do they prove... (2, Insightful)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486769)

... that he ever filled up his RV in North Carolina?

I thought criminal matters in the US put the onus on the government to prove that a crime took place, in this case that he had ever purchased biodiseal in North Carolina.

Re:And how do they prove... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19486925)

Abide by your Nick and RTFA.

He was driving his "1981 diesel Mercedes" not an RV.

humor? (4, Insightful)

updog (608318) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486775)

wtf is this tagged "humor"?

It's obviously not a joke, and it's certainly not funny that people who are actually trying to make a difference are getting donkey punched by the local authorities.

Solar power and an electric car (3, Insightful)

narced (1078877) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486801)

I wonder what the gov'ment will do when people with electric cars who charge off of solar start showing up. Do they tax us for being green just because we are using the roads? Do we get punished like this guy? It seems the whole road tax system is going to have to be revamped in the coming years.

If the government was serious... (3, Insightful)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486823)

If the government was serious about finding minimizing our dependency on foreign oil then this man would be exempt as he does not use foreign oil. Let's get all non-foreign oil sources (including domestic sources, if at all feasible, I'm not sure if it is) exempt from these taxes, and raise the taxes elsewhere. That way more and more people will avoid foreign oil. Then once we've achieved 0 use of foreign oil, we can start slowly putting those taxes back on, while raising the foreign oil taxes even further and lower the taxes elsewhere (wherever it was increased to make up for the loss of tax from the exemption in the first place) so it will continue to remain profitable to use domestic sources. Then, if its still an issue which I think it will be, we can repeat the entire process with more environmentally friendly fuel methods.

Or we can keep invading countries and enrichen US companies that import foreign oil.

Re:If the government was serious... (1)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486941)

Trying to put an economic disincentive on foreign oil would be a good idea, if it wasn't for that pesky WTC. Too bad, really.

Arab Oil interests? (5, Informative)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486827)

"Arab Oil interests?"

That's a cheap shot at Arabs. And untrue. Did you know [doe.gov] that the top 2 sources of crude oil are Canada and Mexico? Followed by Saudi Arabia and Venezuela? 3 of the top 4 sources of oil are non-Arab.

Re:Arab Oil interests? (4, Funny)

whitehatlurker (867714) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486979)

No, no. That's not true. [mystic Jedi hand gesture] All your oil comes from the Middle East. [repeat gesture] There is no country called Canada.

These are not the oil-rich targets you're looking for.

Humor? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19486831)

Who the hell tagged this article "humor"? "fuckingsad" would be more appropriate. We should be encouraging people who dabble in alternate fuel sources, not punishing them.

Brings a tear to my eye... (3, Insightful)

bluprint (557000) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486879)

to see that the spirit of independence, innovation and entrepreneurship still runs strong in the heart of this great country.

Why advertise what you are doing / your cars mods? (2, Insightful)

SpecialAgentXXX (623692) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486905)

I never understood why people need to show off how they tweaked their cars. The "ricers" put fart-cans on their exhaust which doesn't increase HP, but rather annoys the hell out of everyone. And it's also a homing beacon saying "hey cops, come ticket me for my illegal mods." The same goes for this guy. His car runs on bio-diesel. Great for him (really). However, waving it in front of the cops or anyone else is just asking for at least an inspection by the cops. That's why I do stealth mods to my car. The exhaust sounds the same, there are no flashy stickers or huge spoilers hanging off my trunk. But underneath the hood, I've upped the HP and put on a better exhaust. I don't put on any bumper stickers or pro/college teams logos on my car because the opposing fans might scratch it.

Sadly, in this day and age, the concept of "freedom of speech" is nothing more than "hey officer, I'm suspicious - come investigate me." So I just STFU & GBTW.

Mileage tax (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 6 years ago | (#19486985)

Why not do away with the fuel tax & charge a mileage tax if the taxes are used to maintain the roads ?

Charging people to make their own fuel seems silly.
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