Lawmaker Supportive of Alternative Fuels Pushes for Tax Code Changes

Posted June 20, 2007

— A state lawmaker says he is willing to break the law to help make a breakthrough on the use of alternative fuel in North Carolina.

Although the state officially supports efforts to reduce dependence of foreign oil, many people think the state tax code discourages most people from using alternative fuel.

Home-grown fuelers People, which makes vehicles operate on alternative fuel, are required to post a $2,500 bond because it does not paying fuel taxes. The Department of Revenue still wants to collect for wear and tear on the highways.

But Sen. Stan Bignham, R-Guilford, who runs his Volkswagen on 100 percent soybean oil, admits he is not in compliance with the law.

He doesn't think it is fair to penalize those who are trying to reduce dependence on foreign oil and helping the environment.

"If I had a fleet of trucks -- 500 trucks -- and was using a million gallons a week, I'd certainly feel receptive to paying the tax on it, because naturally, you should because of the damage you do to the roads and other things," Bingham said.

The Department of Revenue says it doesn't plan to hunt down violators like Bingham, and a spokesman says the agency actually supports his bill to reduce the tax burden on small users.

Bingham feels reducing the tax could increase the number of fuel-it-yourselfers.

The senator said he gets most of his soybean oil from the legislative cafeteria.


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  • Mo Jun 21, 2007


  • Blessed Jun 21, 2007

    Let's face it, we need an alternative way to fuel our local and long-distance travel. I actually e-mailed the Wake County Representatives and Senators and asked for a tax incentive for companies that setup programs where their employees work from home at least one day a week. The tax incentive would help off-set the cost of setting up the employee with a laptop, etc. The State could eliminate the silly inspection that does nothing to reduce emmissions (actually let's the worst offending vehicles off the hook!), thus reducing State overhead (to pay for the tax credit) and get a bigger bang for their emmissions fighting dollar. We employees would save on gas money and be just a little bit happier getting to work from home at least one day! Less vehicles on the road, mean less money spent on gas and less emmissions and less wear and tear on the roads...everyone wins...

  • Nope Jun 21, 2007

    I should have given some numbers. In 2005, progress energy got a $275 MILLION tax credit!!!! Overall, they have gotten about $2 BILLION in tax credits for this!!!

  • Nope Jun 21, 2007

    Bonnie I used to work at progress energy in the tax department. I am sorry for the loss of your position, but I worked on the synfuel tax credit and I am glad it is going away. That was the biggest ripoff I have ever seen. It was corporate welfare.

    Progress energy would produce "synfuel" and sell it for less than the cost of the coal they bought for the process. Their "synfuel" was simply regular coal that they crushed and then formed into briquets using a binder. It was totally bogus. It was not a new type of fuel, nor was it cost-effective. Its only purpose was to generate a tax credit. If there were no credit, they would never produce it, which you found out the hard way, unfortunately.

  • bonnieborchert Jun 21, 2007

    The government strikes again. I work in the coal/synfuel field and the government has been giving us a tax credit for every ton of synfuel (synthetic coal as a matter of simplification) over coal we do. THat tax credit goes away Dec 31 2007. As a result we will stop manufactoring synfuel because we would lose money - and the company is selling off all of us. My job along with lots and lots of others will be eliminated. We need to use our natural resources more- coal to be exact - and we ( by we I mean the government as a whole) instead are making it a red line to use. It boggles my mind. Clean burning coal and synfuel are a way of making sure our resources are used and not abused but someone somewhere wants to make another buck at anyone's expense.

  • wildervb Jun 21, 2007

    To erggggg,

    So you want tolls on all roads, there is a cost to every road we drive on. Isn't this a bit impractical.

  • erggggg Jun 21, 2007

    if you want to fairly collect road tax TOLL THE ROAD.

  • Sidekick Jun 21, 2007

    Is this used oil or is he just loading up his truck with fresh cafeteria oil? Does he pay for it? Why doesn't the cafeteria manager charge for the oil and provide his employees with a little perk at year end?
    Why does this legislator, who has the ability to pay, just walk off with his free fuel?

    I'm glad he does this, but it seems like he got a bit giddy when another guy was fined for doing the same thing.

  • OLD PIRATE Jun 21, 2007

    foreigh oil is less a problem than local state taxes

  • ohmygosh Jun 21, 2007

    No problem. The state will just extend the gas tax to any potential fuel for autos. That will mean a fuel tax on your olive oil purchases in the supermarket.

    These types of endeavors die a quick death anyhow. Filling up is hardly convenient and in the end dooms it.