In what might be some concerning news to those trying to be truly independent of foreign oil and good for the environment, the State of Wisconsin is taxing the biodiesel home-brewed by two Manitowoc men.
According to this AP story posted on WFRV-TV Green Bay web site, Steven Griesbach and Paul Simon received letters from the state Department of Revenue that say they would owe state fuel tax on any fuel they make and burn in their vehicles:
“I’m going to still (make biofuel), but I’m not too happy about the whole thing,” said Simon, who has been burning a modified form of vegetable oil in his 1982 diesel-powered Mercedes-Benz 240D for two years.
Vegetable oil converted to motor-vehicle fuel is considered a biodiesel, which is taxable under state law, said Meredith Helgerson, spokeswoman for the Revenue Department.
Apparently, biodiesel makers have to pay an inspection fee of two cents a gallon. Plus, if it’s blended with diesel that is used on the roads, the makers also have to pay another 31 cents a gallon.
Simon thought the tax would apply to big makers and not hobbyists such as himself.
“I guess that I’m opposed to it overall for a hobbyist to be charged,” he said. “It’s getting to the point in our culture that almost everything that we do is going to be illegal, or you need a fee or a license.”
Ironically, this news comes after the state extension service offers workshops on how to make home-brewed biodiesel and not long after after Gov. Jim Doyle said he wanted to replace 25% of the energy used in the state with energy from renewable sources, such as biodiesel and ethanol, by the year 2025.