Thursday, March 08, 2007
It turns out there are are extra costs attached to alternative fuel use. Tax collectors in Illinois are trying to collect gas tax from a retired chemist who has converted his car to run on vegetable oil. Instead of lauding this guy for reducing dependence on fossil fuels, they want 5 years of back gas-tax (even though he hasn't bought any gas in 5 years!) and are threatening felony charges if he doesn't pay up. The logic is that gas taxes are (supposedly) slated for road maintenance and upkeep and since he's still driving a car and a burden on the highway system he should be paying the tax. That's a fair argument, but totally ignores that fact that there are no laws on the books that address this kind of situation. It seems to me that this is another case of a legislative or corporate body failing to adapt to the times (see: RIAA and MPAA and digital media) and resorting to bullying of the 'little guy' instead of coming up with real solutions (such as shifting the road tax from gasoline sales to odometer readings/road use). Instead they choose to intimidate, not legislate. Shouldn't we be *encouraging* these kind of innovations?