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Cars running on vegetable oil regulated Answered

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The man is really bringing me down here...

Drivers of SVO (straight vegetable oil) fueled cars are running afoul of the law.

Not too long ago, cars that ran on leftover vegetable oil were rare, a curiosity. But now that lots of people are buying kits and hiring mechanics to mod their cars to run on french fry juice, the government is starting to take notice. Drivers of these cars now have to pay the same taxes as traditional fuel drivers, register with the state, file monthly reports and payments, as well as make sure they are in compliance with local environmental laws. Noncompliance will be punished with stiff fines.

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bigcdog (author)2009-06-16

The government just wants the oil money. "DIE GREEDY PIGS DIE"

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zaro12345 (author)2008-07-08

Ya, this sucks. So, in accordance to the government taxing these people for using WVO, they should also tax wind powerplants? How about taxing people who use solar panels on their roof? Or even, what if the government even taxes people who drive hybrids? I'm pretty sure this is happening because the government LIKES being in debt. We pay so much for oil, that if lots of people switch to WVO, then the government *gasp* WOULDN't be in debt!

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joetheduk (author)zaro123452009-03-18

the govt. actually does tax solar panel users, after a fashion. If you use solar panels, or some other form of alternative energy, you have to sell off you excess power to the govt, if you dont you get fined. and in regards to driving hybrids, the government had tried to use gps to track people's mileage and tax them for it. gotta love the land of the free...

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killarowa (author)2008-07-10

Quick msg, have you guys seen the movie "Who Killed the Electric Car"? Its messed up man, seriously! CA was about to go green(er) but the CARB board slam dunked the whole thing and car makers didnt have to make EV cars, BS!!!!

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Rishnai (author)2008-07-06

I'd like to see drivers of Priuses have to do logs like that and pay those taxes. I suppose that it makes sense that as soon as someone breathes (whisper) tax evasion, the feds will be crawling all over that idea like ants and start cuffing people with red tape. The idea that if you use an untaxed fuel, you can put wear on the roads and not have to pay for its repair (because you're not paying fuel taxes), and therefore should be forced to pay all of those taxes on the fuel you make anyway, is incomplete. It should be extended to include if you burn half as much fuel as everyone else (so you're only paying half as much taxes), you should have to make up the difference by keeping a careful ledger of miles driven compared with the average fuel economy of cars in America, and be forced to pay the taxes that you evaded by not burning all of that gas. Looking at it that way, it's obvious that making people pay for being green is absolutely batshit crazy. People that use SVO should get tax breaks like hybrid owners, not more taxes.

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forgesmith (author)Rishnai2008-07-06

Then the drivers of all-electric vehicles should, at a minimum, pay a yearly licensing fee that goes towards road upkeep. They're not paying any road gas taxes at all! Hey, I'm paying their share of it, I'm getting taxed twice and they are getting the benefit of it! Why am I getting penalized for not "going green" anyway? Do those politicians know how much a decent electric vehicle costs, when I can barely afford to get a clunker?! You can't find good used electric vehicles! The rich are soaking the poor again so they can show off how much better they are than us!! They're GREEN!!

*huff huff* ...deep breaths, calm down...

Well It's True!!

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Lithium Rain (author)forgesmith2008-07-06

Electric cars don't run on SVO. And they pay plenty of other taxes that cover the road maintainence and upkeep.

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forgesmith (author)Lithium Rain2008-07-07

Electric cars don't run on SVO. And they pay plenty of other taxes that cover the road maintainence and upkeep.
Well, we're coming up on a (slightly) broader issue of alternative fuels period, and since electricity is being used for propulsion it counts. And we're coming up fast, before there might have been the odd soul who distilled his own ethanol, maybe only a handful in an entire state. Now we're going to get into noticeable percentages.

Fuel taxes are distinct as they are earmarked for roads, directly charged to those using the roads. Human powered doesn't count as they aren't really considered users, you don't find bicycles up to speed in your lane on the interstate. Not sure about animal powered, but I've yet to see an Amish buggy or wagon with a license plate and registration sticker. Besides the horse might object to emissions testing. In both human and animal cases, there are high-speed roads like interstate highways that specifically ban them from use, they're not full-fledged users. Low-powered mopeds however are subject to licensing and registration requirements, in my state and I'm certain others, they're allowed in the normal flow of traffic. And mopeds, at least historically, use fuel.

So the distinction is if the vehicle, at least historically, uses power other than that immediately made by a living organism, it pays road tax, it's a normal user of roads.

The collection of road tax is a serious issue. #2 home heating oil, the most common, is dyed red to keep it from being used in diesels, makes spot checks go fast, just look in a trucker's tank(s). Thruout the entire country, anyone using that heating oil must pay a little bit extra to cover the cost of that dye, even those who don't have and can't afford a vehicle.

For a vehicle you may pay a registration fee, which covers those administrative costs, perhaps inspection and also emission testing fees, which covers the costs of the garage doing the work. And... That's it. Nothing in there for roads. Fuel tax(es) are it.

If you're a normal road user but your vehicle uses a fuel that's outside of the traditional road taxed systems, why should you get a free ride? The correct answer is you shouldn't, you use then you pay.

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Lithium Rain (author)forgesmith2008-07-07

Well, yeah, but you jumped into a conversation about SVO fueled cars and started talking electric...kinda confusing...

And the other taxes we pay do go for the roads. Extra taxes are routinely earmarked by the congress to fix or build roads and bridges.

And that argument makes no sense to me. Let's assume you get the fuel free. Why should the government tax something you got for free? What's next? Taxing the charred wood that's left over after a fire that someone gave you, because you could use it for charcoal?

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forgesmith (author)Lithium Rain2008-07-07

Well, yeah, but you jumped into a conversation about SVO fueled cars and started talking electric...kinda confusing...

Psst, I was also taking on the tone of the previous post, exaggerating it, and taking it to the next logical step, no fuel. For, you know, humorous purposes. Wink wink.
And the other taxes we pay do go for the roads. Extra taxes are routinely earmarked by the congress to fix or build roads and bridges.
Only to cover shortfalls or special projects. You can have a vehicle and not have enough income to pay income taxes, so nothing required there. We don't have a national sales tax, and locally you're not paying any unless you're (legally) buying items that have sales tax, so still not required. The only tax a road user would have to pay that gets used for roads is fuel tax, and if you duck that using alternate fuels then you could be paying nothing towards the roads you use. Let's say half the drivers switch to alternate, then half the fuel taxes are gone. How is that made up? Do you charge the non-alternates double, or add it to income taxes paid by people who drive very little or not at all, who don't even have a vehicle?

The government isn't charging for free fuel, it's charging for using the roads. Fuel tax is an easy method of that, the more you drive the more you pay, drive large vehicles that are more likely to damage roads and need better and larger roads and you'll pay more since they use more fuel. On the whole it's a fair system. Well, it's fair that alternates should pay for using the roads too. The question is now how they should be charged.

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Lithium Rain (author)forgesmith2008-07-07

D'oh! I see! I see what you mean. I think a toll system would be better and more fair to SVO users though.

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forgesmith (author)Lithium Rain2008-07-08

...toll system...
Huh, what? How would you implement that, when as soon as you leave your driveway you're on a road a government is responsible for? And that could be by the state, county, local municipality... About the only practical way to keep track of which road you were using and who gets what share of the tolls would be if all the vehicles had GPS tracking and it was automatically known exactly where they were...

Wait, who did you say you work for again?

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Lithium Rain (author)forgesmith2008-07-08

I meant for the major highways, etc. In my experience it's hard to get to drive a long distance without getting on the highway.

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Rishnai (author)forgesmith2008-07-08

The government is here to help you... conform.

Maybe she means taxes, not "toll" as in tollway. But then again maybe not. I think we might need to keep a 24-hour security detail on Ms. Monk.

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skunkbait (author)Rishnai2008-07-06

Mileage log for road repair?.... Don't give them any ideas!

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bobbycox (author)skunkbait2008-07-06

I'm running the olds on WVO, without any government approval. Civil disobediance.

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Bran (author)2008-07-02

How utterly stupid. Looks like all the government cares about is getting a raise.

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Goodhart (author)Bran2008-07-02

the Gov. deserves a raise, delivered by the right foot to the rear end.... *sigh*

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LinuxH4x0r (author)Goodhart2008-07-02

Hehe! Yes, they deserve that, but we deserve a socialist revolution. I'm also worried that the law that makes utilities buy back power will be revoked. I'm going to slit some throats over this.

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Shadowmang (author)2008-07-04

as soon as everyone starts to realize oh cool I can fill up for dirt cheap using vegetable oil, the price is going to sky rocket just as corn did when ethanol started to catch on. Basically the restaurants that give their used oil away are going to start charging for their oil as more and more people want it, which well... leads to even more taxing...

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Derin (author)Shadowmang2008-07-07

we get corn for free >:D since we grow it (ask me how i know)

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Lftndbt (author)2008-07-02

Petrol in Australia is $1.70 /L at the best of times. My 3.6L V6 chews through the petrol. Needless to say my 5.0L V8 does not see the light of day as often as it would like.

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skunkbait (author)Lftndbt2008-07-02

Even 15 years ago in Ozzie, I almost always rode a motorbike rather than a real car. Those old Holdens were awesome, but who can afford to drive one?

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Lftndbt (author)skunkbait2008-07-02

Yup the VK can eat 5 Litres of petrol in under 3km if I plant my foot down... Been many years since I've done that though.

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NachoMahma (author)2008-07-02

. Most of the taxes on fuel are supposed to be for road repairs and new roads. The tax is for you using the roads and is on ALL fuels used on highways. Should apply to hydrogen, also. Not that I like taxes, but this one does make a little bit of sense.

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skunkbait (author)NachoMahma2008-07-02

Wouldn't bother me on a STATE level. But Federal involvement in the roads is totally corrupt. They kinda forced (through tax issues) the states to comply to the 55mph speed limit back in the 80's. What's next: federal driver's cellphone laws, federal seatbelt laws, fed helmet laws? I don't mind paying to keep up the roads, but the feds need to butt-out.

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forgesmith (author)skunkbait2008-07-05

Ah yes, the great and wonderful interstate commerce clause at work. Well, if you don't drive on roads and bridges at least partially funded by federal money, use any products delivered on them, have any services provided by people who use them, etc, etc, etc, then you have a valid standing for a gripe since you see no benefits from the Feds involvement. Until someone points out to you yet another way you've benefited.

For added fun, they're talking about reinstating 55 for the energy crisis. Once they get done with the aerodynamic studies to find the fastest yet still economical speed of the average vehicle, what do you want to bet they won't consider all the extra idling time from the long traffic backups? However there will be great increases in mileage after it goes into effect. Vehicle manufacturers will be able to shave off a lot of metal since vehicles won't have to be built for crashes over 55.

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skunkbait (author)forgesmith2008-07-05

Yep, interstate commerce is a responsibility of the feds, but, I think it was more to make sure a few states didn't gang up and tax the others to death. Also, to make sure currency was good in all states. States that wanted to prosper would maintain their OWN roads, at their own expense with state (and county) tax dollars. I'd like my money to be spent on my roads. I do drive a LOT on roads that recieve no federal dollars. Problem is, those federal regs will still apply on those county roads (cause that's just the way it goes). Bridges and major interstates (I 40)may be important for security and trade issues, but I don't drive my deisel out of town anyway. And I would buy locally if it got the feds un-involved. Federal intervention gets bigger and bigger each year. That is my biggest gripe with both major politival parties.

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forgesmith (author)skunkbait2008-07-05

Yep, interstate commerce is a responsibility of the feds, but, I think it was more to make sure a few states didn't gang up and tax the others to death. Also, to make sure currency was good in all states. States that wanted to prosper would maintain their OWN roads, at their own expense with state (and county) tax dollars.
The full clause also makes the federal government the negotiator with foreign and Indian nations. Taken all together, guess they didn't want Maine to negotiate better trade deals with France than what New York could get, or Virginian traders to get open passage thru Indian territories while Pennsylvanian ones were shut out. Forced unity by the federal government, such a wonderful thing.

Then there are states who can't raise the tax money to build and care for the roads they need. As the money flows, my income taxes gave me a stake in an interstate highway in Montana. So if I ever drive thru there on it, guess I won't litter.

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skunkbait (author)forgesmith2008-07-05

What's wrong with you?You're almost as cynical as me!!!! (Save your litter for Mississippi!)

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forgesmith (author)skunkbait2008-07-05

I practice Pragmatic Optimism. When you are Pragmatically Optimistic you accept that things will tend to get better, even despite your actions. Pick up a history book and take a long view, you'll know it's true. Have you been P.O. today? ;-)

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skunkbait (author)forgesmith2008-07-05

I'm a little more P.P. than P.O. (pragmatically pessimistic). That way when things don't go so well, I'm not disappointed. When things do go well, I'm pleasantly surprised!

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forgesmith (author)skunkbait2008-07-06

Well then, if you're often P.P. you know about being p.o.'d! ;-)

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bobbycox (author)skunkbait2008-07-05

They already withhold federal money from states that have no Helmet laws.

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bobbycox (author)2008-07-05

Looking through all the comments above I see some major errors. First, Used cooking oil is not readily given away by fast food joints they already sell it to large companies. Small mom and pop establishments don't do the volume and thus have to pay to have it hauled away. So if you do this conversion talk to these places first. I have an 81 Olds diesel on WVO. Next new cooking oil is about $15.00 a gallon, so it will not replace fuel any time soon. Finaly don't worry that "everyone" will switch to WVO, it is a very time consuming and messy business and most americans are too lazy to attempt it. Present company excepted no doubt. If I need to pay 45 cents a gallon in taxes I'll do it grudgingly but I'm still saving money.

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lordofthedonuts (author)bobbycox2008-07-06

Most of the small establishement will give their use oil for free, it's garbage for them after all...

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skunkbait (author)bobbycox2008-07-05

I think the "where to get WVO" was discussed on another forum. The small establishments are best, but around here, people have already snapped that up too. I offered to pay the local cafe for theirs, but they already had somebody. BTW- I new I should have kept my Olds Deisel! Mom and Dad were just sick of it sitting in their yard, and they live 700 miles away. I think they got like $200 for it, and it still ran:-(

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chooseausername (author)2008-07-04

> Drivers of these cars now have to pay the same taxes as traditional fuel drivers, register with the state, file monthly reports and payments, as well as make sure they are in compliance with local environmental laws. Noncompliance will be punished with stiff fines.

Same here. And it's the case since decades.

At the beginning I found that quite unfair, and now, I understand that it's probably better : if the gov don't try to discourage us to use veg oil for our cars, everybody would use "food oil", and this may accelerate the food crisis ...

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not exactly. the "food oil" if really used cooking oil. the companies really give the stuff away because they can't use it anymore. that would not accelerate the food crisis because the oil was already going to be thrown out anyway. it actually costs the company money because they have to have a company come and take it for them. any fast food restruant would be happy to give there oil to you.

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But when the price of petrol is superior to the price of "food oil", peoples who don't have cooking oil tend to buy and use "food oil". That's what happened here. There would never be enough cooking oil for all ... and from cooking oil to food oil, there is only one tiny step.

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Shadowmang (author)dsman1952762008-07-04

it actually costs the company money because they have to have a company come and take it for them. any fast food restaurant would be happy to give there oil to you.

until more people want it... then they say, "hey we can make money off of this" which also leads to a price tag and taxing

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dsman195276 (author)Shadowmang2008-07-04

ya, but i don't think they will put a price on it. at least not yet.

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drinkmorecoffee (author)2008-07-04

So cook it and spend the extra $0.75 a gallon, it's still worth it. In my state I don't have to pay taxes on my transesterified fuel, yet, as long as I'm not selling it.

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Kiteman (author)2008-07-04

In the UK, anything sold as a fuel for motor vehicles automatically attracts rather large taxes. I believe that acquiring (new or used) cooking oil and converting it yourself is currently a grey area, tax-wise. However, whatever the tax-status of the fuel, all such vehicles attract a significantly-lower road tax, and qualify for a 100% congestion-charge discount.

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n8man (author)2008-07-04

They want to squeeze every last penny out of us. This is evil.

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