Well, here is an interesting turn of events. A fellow in North Carolina converted his auto to run on vegetable oil so that he could “make a statement” against our usage of fossil fuels.
Great, you say? Stick it to the oil companies, the Saudis the whole mess in the Mid East? And on top of that we get a thrill that he won’t have to pay for the high cost of gas… OR the taxes on such.
Bob Teixeira, a Charlotte guitar teacher, took a stand against US dependence on foreign oil last fall. He spent 12-hundred dollars to convert his 1981 diesel Mercedes to run on vegetable oil. He buys soybean oil in 5-gallon jugs at Costco, which costs him about a third more than diesel.
But the state fined Teixeira a thousand dollars for not paying motor fuel taxes. Officials also told him that to legally use veggie oil here he’d have to first post a 25-hundred-dollar bond.
OUCH! $2,500 a year!
Outraged? Upset? Wondering why the state deserves to get its cut of this guy? That is a seemingly reasonable question… at first.
But consider this:
If everyone were to alter their car to run on vegetable oil and no gasoline taxes were paid by either the gasoline distributors, the station owners or the uses, then WHO would pay the taxes that are used for the upkeep of the State’s roads and bridges?
Pot holes don’t get filled by magical ferries who do so out of the love in their hearts for our roads and byways, after all. It has to be paid for somehow.
It has been readily established that driving is a privilege, not a right. It is also true that no citizen should assume they may use the public roads for free. I mean, why should anyone assume they should benefit for free from the work of others? This is why we conservatives are against welfare, remember? Similarly, why should we be allowed to use roads we had no hand in paying for, and no future expectation to do so, for keeping those roads safe and in repair?
Now, we leave aside the question of government waste on the issue of taxes used for roads. That is a separate issue, of course. The graft and abuse that funds supposed to go to our roads are put to does not take away the simple fact that we all have a responsibility to pay for our “fair share” of that up keep and that can only be done through user fees and taxes.
So, after that being said, I have no problem with our oil protesting teacher in North Carolina being forced to pay some yearly fee up front to use the roads with a car that does not use gasoline, with which taxes are paid, to keep that car running.
Not using oil does not, it is obvious, mean that this man’s car is not putting wear and tear on those very same roads everyone else uses it must be realized! Oil or no, his car will be putting practically the same amount of rubber and weight on the road that everyone else’s car does.
So, I say to North Carolina… charge this guy. He should pay for the roads just like the rest of us do!