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Friday, March 09, 2007

Running on empty

An elderly Decatur couple gets paid a visit by the Illinois revenuers (Decatur Herald Review: State makes big fuss over local couple's vegetable oil car fuel):

Gary May introduced himself as a special agent. The other man, John Egan, was introduced as his colleague. May gave the Wetzels his card, stating that he is the senior agent in the bureau of criminal investigations.

Criminal investigations?

The agents informed the Wetzels that they were interested in their car, a 1986 Volkswagen Golf, that David Wetzel converted to run primarily from vegetable oil but also partly on diesel.
Wetzel uses recycled vegetable oil, which he picks up weekly from an organization that uses it for frying food at its dining facility.
"They told me I am required to have a license and am obligated to pay a motor fuel tax," David Wetzel recalled. "Mr. May also told me the tax would be retroactive."

They want the couple to pay the tax (in excess of $200), post a $2,500 bond, and take out a special fuel supplier's license. Is it possible that the folks at the Illinois Department of Revenue either didn't read the law, or are having a good laugh at taxpayer's expense:

On the department of revenue's Web site, David Wetzel discovered that the definition of special fuel supplier includes someone who operates a plant with an "active bulk storage capacity of not less than 30,000 gallons." Wetzel also did not fit the definition of a receiver, described as a person who produces, distributes or transports fuel into the state. So Wetzel withdrew his application to become a supplier and receiver.

There must be an explanation:

Mike Klemens, spokesman for the department of revenue, explained that Wetzel has to register as a supplier because the law states that is the only way he can pay motor fuel tax.

This is ridiculous. So much for exploring alternative energy solutions.

Via Where There's A Will.

Posted by Marie at March 9, 2007 11:21 PM


"The people at the department of revenue apparently feel they need to regulate him in some way."

Not only is it alarming that they felt the need, they felt they had to do so in such a heavy-handed way. Uncalled for. Did they forget who they work for? I suspect this will be sorted out. Too many people rallying to their cause.

Posted by: Rob Author Profile Page at March 11, 2007 9:55 AM