• Aug 17, 2006
It sounds like some kind of kinky fantasy government plan, but there really is a Lust Tax in this country. The Lust money is actually part of the Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Trust Fund, and each time many of us gas up, we pay into the fund. The Fund was set up in 1986 and is financed by a 0.1 cent tax on each gallon of motor fuel sold nationwide, according to the EPA. Except it's not, as a member of the San Francisco Biofuels group recently discovered when driving through Arizona. During one fill-up (at Western States Petroleum in Phoenix), the driver bought biodiesel and saved about $20 on a $42 bill because of two discounts for the "Federal L.U.S.T. tax" and a "Agri-Biodsl Price Inscentiv". The driver claims each discount saved $10.40, which is far more than the EPA's 0.1 cent a gallon. However this driver received the discount, it prompted me to look into this LUST tax a little bit and see how it relates to biofuels.
The LUST Fund is supposed to pay to clean up leaking underground gasoline storage tanks when a responsible party cannot be found, and it is used to enforce the laws when one can be found. But it seems more money is going in to the Fund than is being taken out to pay for clean up and a lot of people aren't happy with the LUST tax. The Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers of America, for example, is adamantly opposed to the way the LUST Trust Fund has been applied in recent years. They claim the fund has got about $2.3 billion in the bank, and $200 million are added each year. On top of this, only about $75 million is taken out annually for cleaning up messes across the country. Sites around the country need to be cleaned up because the petroleum in the tanks is leaking into the groundwater. Since biofuels contain less petroleum (or none) than standard fuels, anecdotal evidence from the drive through Arizona implies that biofuels are not subject to the LUST tax. I have not been able to confirm or deny this, but will do a little more research for a future post. Anyone out there have any knowledge on this topic?

[Source: SF Biofuels, EPA, NPN]


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