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Illinois Tax Man Hassles Biofuel Motorist
Elderly Illinois couple threatened with five years imprisonment for powering their car with vegetable oil.

1986 Volkswagen Golf
The Illinois Department of Revenue insists David Wetzel, 79, and his wife Eileen must pay $2500 for the right to drive a 1986 Volkswagen Golf using biofuel. Bureau of Criminal Investigations unit agents Gary May and John Egan showed up at the Wetzel home on January 4 to threaten the couple with felony charges that carry up to five years in imprisonment.

"I was afraid," Eileen Wetzel told the Herald and Review newspaper. "I came out of the bathroom. I thought: Good God, we paid our taxes. The check didn't bounce."

The couple had committed the crime of picking up waste vegetable oil from a restaurant and using it to power their four-door hatchback. The revenue officials claimed the couple would have to apply for a fuel supplier license, designed for large businesses, and post a $2500 bond to avoid prison. They had failed to pay any gasoline tax on the restaurant byproduct. Over five years, the couple had used 1135 gallons of vegetable oil worth $244.24 in taxes if paid at the 21.5 cent diesel fuel rate.

Last week, the Illinois state Senate Revenue Committee unanimously voted to amend state law to allow motorists to use restaurant byproducts for personal, non-commercial use. The full state Senate and House must approve the measure before it could become law.

Article Excerpt:
State of Illinois
95TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 2007 and 2008
Introduced 2/7/2007, by Sen. Frank C. Watson

35 ILCS 505/1.5 from Ch. 120, par. 417.5
Amends the Motor Fuel Tax Law. Provides that the term "blending" does not include the conversion of cooking oil, used restaurant fryer oil, or any other similar oil into motor fuel for ones personal, noncommercial use. Effective immediately.

AN ACT concerning revenue.

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly:

Section 5. The Motor Fuel Tax Law is amended by changing Section 1.5 as follows:

(35 ILCS 505/1.5) (from Ch. 120, par. 417.5)

Sec. 1.5. Blending defined.

(a) "Blending" means, except as provided in subsection (b), the mixing together by any process whatsoever, of any one or more products with other products, and regardless of the original character of the products so blended, provided the resultant product so obtained is suitable or practicable for use as a motor fuel, except such blending as may occur in the process known as refining by the original refiner of crude petroleum, and except, also, the blending of products known as lubricating oil in the production of lubricating oils and greases and except, also, the dyeing of special fuel as required by Section 4d of this Law.

(b) "Blending" does not include the conversion of cooking oil, used restaurant fryer oil, or any other similar oil into motor fuel for ones personal, noncommercial use.

Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect upon becoming law.
Source: State makes big fuss over local couples vegetable oil car fuel (Decatur Herald and Review (IL), 3/1/2007)

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