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Biofuel drivers hit with fines in North Carolina

Legal snafus nab tarheel drivers

If you drive a biodiesel car in North Carolina, you might be slapped with a fine.

Although the state is trying to promote biofuel production and consumption, the state also wants to collect taxes on transportation fuel. So drivers that are filing up their cars with vegetable oil are getting nailed with fines for tax avoidance, according to a report in the Charlotte Observer.

Musician Bob Teixeira got snagged with a $1,000 fine from the state and may be hit with another $1,000 fine from the federal government, the newspaper stated. He's been filling his 1981 diesel Mercedes with vegetable oil from Costco. To start running the car legally on veggie oil, he will have to post a $2,500 bond, the newspaper reported.

Other drivers have been fined for running their cars on alcohol. In the old days, it was sold as moonshine.

Legal help, though, is probably on the way. The state's Department of Revenue is asking the legislature to exempt small consumers from any bond requirements. Some lawmakers are even going further. State senator Stan Bingham, who drives a soybean oil-powered Volkswagen with a "Goodbye OPEC" sticker, says people that retrofit their cars to avoid burning fossil fuels should be exempt from the state tax altogether.