Legal woes

Politics of WVO, legal aspects, emissions

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Legal woes

Postby leftcoastjeff » Wed Aug 06, 2008 7:51 pm

Just found this,

Go green – and violate the law
By TOM PELTON
The Baltimore Sun

Mark Nagurney is trying to drive free and save the Earth at the same time by fueling his car with used vegetable oil. Unfortunately, state and federal regulations are aligned against him.

With fuel prices soaring, Mark Nagurney thought he had figured out a clever way to drive free — and save the Earth at the same time. The 49-year-old Laurel, Md., physicist is one of thousands of people nationally who have converted diesel cars and trucks to run on vegetable oil.
But in burning a cleaner fuel than diesel, Nagurney never imagined he’d end up on the wrong side of federal environ*mental laws. Or break Mary*land’s fuel tax regulations, which require even folks driv*ing on grease thrown away by fast-food restaurants to get a “special fuel” license, obtain a $1,000 bond from an insur*ance company, file monthly forms and pay the same 24*cents-per-gallon tax as drivers using diesel.
Nagurney finds the tax rules misguided.
“Let’s get renewable energy going,” he said.
After hearing about vehicle conversion from some co*workers, the strait-laced Re*publican defense contractor paid a mechanic $2,500 in Oc*tober to convert his 1996 Volk*swagen Passat so it can run on either vegetable oil or diesel. Nagurney gets waste oil free from a Chinese restaurant in his neighborhood and thinks it’s a great way to recycle and save money.
He’s part of a small but growing number of people na*tionally who have embraced straight vegetable oil fuel — or “SVO” — as an alternative energy source that helps to free America from foreign pe*troleum.
The numbers are uncertain, but advocates estimate that thousands of people are con*verting their vehicles, with mechanic shops springing up that specialize in the conver*sions.
One company, Golden Fuel of Springfield, Mo., has seen a 400 percent increase in sales of kits to convert diesel vehi*cles to run on SVO, with 200 sold so far this year and 150 orders pending.
But these motorists are run*ning afoul of federal and state government agencies whose jobs are to collect taxes from drivers to pay for road mainte*nance and make sure that fu*els don’t pollute the air.
Maryland drivers face a $1,000 fine for driving on veg*etable fuel if they don’t regis*ter first with the state and file monthly reports and payments, according to Chuck Ulm, as*sistant director of motor vehi*cle taxes in the state comptrol*ler’s office.
“They would be operating without paying the motor ve*hicle tax as required by law,” Ulm said. “It would be ille*gal.”
A spokesman for Comptrol*ler Peter Franchot said Fran*chot generally supports the use of alternative fuels as a way to help end the nation’s dependence on foreign oil and reduce greenhouse gas emis*sions.
But, said spokesman War*ren Hansen, “At this point, the legislature has not changed the way this fuel is taxed or regu*lated, so we are just enforcing the laws that are currently on the books.”
He said Franchot would support a change in the law to encourage the use of vegetable oil fuel, perhaps through the creation of a tax credit, al*though the drivers still would have to pay taxes and register. But a tax credit in Maryland would have little effect if driv*ing while green is illegal at the federal level.
Catherine C. Milbourn, spokeswoman for the U.S. En*vironmental Protection Agen*cy, said federal laws prohibit running vehicles on used veg*etable oil. “All fuels have to be tested before they can be used in a vehicle, because when some*thing goes into the engine and is burned up, something comes out of the tailpipe. And we want to make sure it doesn’t harm the environment in any way,” Milbourn said.
“Vegetable fuel has not been registered as a motor vehicle fuel.”
Garages or companies that convert vehicles to run on veg*etable oil can be subject to federal fines of $32,500 per violation, she said. People who convert their cars face fines of as much as $2,750.
The EPA has not fined any*one for this, but the federal agency is inspecting and in*vestigating people for not fol*lowing these rules, said Rox*anne Smith, another EPA spokeswoman.
Scientists have concluded that burning vegetable oil re*leases less soot, carbon mon*oxide and other air pollutants than petroleum fuel — but about 5 percent more nitrogen oxide, which contributes to smog. SVO produces about the same amount of carbon di*oxide as diesel. Still, Forrest Gregg, an au*thor who recently published a book called “SVO: Powering Your Vehicle with Straight Vegetable Oil,” said vegetable oil is considered better than diesel fuel from a global warming perspective. This is because the plants recently drew the same carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, he said, so returning it is part of a natu*ral cycle.
A regional Golden Fuel franchise, Massa Green Enter*prises of Sterling, Va., installs the SVO conversion kits at a cost of $3,500 for a car to $10,000 for a large truck.
“Our business has gone through the roof with the in*crease in price of diesel at the pump,” said Dan Cozart, gen*eral manager of Massa Green.
One of the people who bought a system is Nagurney. He popped open the trunk of his Passat to show the 12-gal*lon plastic tank that holds the vegetable oil. A heater keeps the oil from congealing in cold weather. The mechanic ran tubes from the tank to the en*gine, which still has a normal diesel tank and can run on standard diesel as well.
Nagurney said he struck a deal with a local Chinese res*taurant to take its used oil for free. The restaurant otherwise would have to pay to have it hauled away. Nagurney leaves the restaurant 4.5-gallon plas*tic containers with spouts, and the restaurant staffers fill them with old oil.
About once every two weeks, he drives by to collect the containers from the kitch*en — usually buying a soda and some food to be friendly.
The government’s view of all this, in terms of taxes, is puzzling to him.
“Whatever they tell me to do, I will gladly do,” he said. “But I think this is double taxation if restaurants are paying sales tax on vegetable oil when they buy it and then I have to pay taxes on it a second time when I burn the used oil as fuel.”
He said the savings that come from using SVO are substantial.
“It’s wonderful,” he said, driving around recently, a sweet smell coming from his tailpipe. “My wife and I went on a trip to Williamsburg, Va., two weeks ago, and we drove 400 miles but only paid $4.50 for fuel. It would have cost us about $45 for diesel.”


This has to be changed!!!!!!!!!!!

LCjeff
'87F-250 stock, minus that pesky water seporator/air inlet, bone stock for now.

Thomas Edison says it best, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work”.
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