can’t see the forest

Goodbye, OPEC; Hello, Red Tape

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An interesting article from the Charlotte (North Carolina) Observer details surprising roadblocks faced by responsible, innovative consumers looking to steer clear of gas stations and Big Oil:

Bob Teixeira decided it was time to take a stand against U.S. dependence on foreign oil.

So last fall the Charlotte musician and guitar instructor spent $1,200 to convert his 1981 diesel Mercedes to run on vegetable oil. He bought soybean oil in 5-gallon jugs at Costco, spending about 30 percent more than diesel would cost.

His reward, from a state that heavily promotes alternative fuels: a $1,000 fine last month for not paying motor fuel taxes.

He’s been told to expect another $1,000 fine from the federal government.

And to legally use veggie oil, state officials told him, he would have to first post a $2,500 bond. . .

. . .

“Individuals who are trying to do the right thing environmentally cannot and should not continue to take this kind of financial hit,” he wrote Gov. Mike Easley.

Teixeira says he’ll pay the state fine and apply for a state fuel license. But pumping regular diesel again “broke my heart.”

“I’m ready to get myself legal,” he said, “and start using vegetable oil again.”

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