Lawmaker Supportive of Alternative Fuels Pushes for Tax Code Changes

Posted June 20, 2007 7:27 p.m. EDT
Updated June 20, 2007 10:51 p.m. EDT

— 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.