Thursday, March 08, 2007

Drive a car, pay the tax

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?


Bayman said...

Forget the taxes. What I want to know is where can I get me a biodiesel engine?

Jon said...

Almost any modern diesel engine will run biodiesel- VW, Mercedes, DCX. With some of the engines, you may have to check/replace the lines coming into and out of the fuel filter- but other than that...

Manufacturing biodiesel is also a very simple process. (note the procedure may be difficult, but the process is simple) I used to occasionally run biodiesel on my 2002 vw tdi. You can switch back and forth no problem.

If you want to run on veggie oil, or reclaimed fryer oil, that's a different story with some very specific parts involved. That said, there are kits available to convert.

good luck!