North Carolina man fined for using vegetable oil in his car

As many people are aware, gasoline is taxed in an effort to pay for the nations roadways. Here in the U.S., we enjoy the freedom of being able to travel from one end of the country to the other with relative ease, and the system of highways and roadways that makes it possible obviously costs money. It seems that there are certain people who want to use the roadways without being required to support them, however, and for these people laws exist as a punishment for evading gas taxes.

Recently, a problem has been cropping up: alternative fuel users are being lumped into the same category as those who are willfully attempting to evade the gas tax. This is an understandable problem, of course. States want to get the money that they require to repair and maintain the roadways, and by using vegetable oil or waste vegetable oil instead of petroleum based diesel fuel, the tax-man is not getting his due. The question being posed in this article, as I see it, is this: should alternative fuel users be penalized or fined for not realizing they are breaking the law?

One one hand, ignorance is not a valid excuse for breaking the law. On the other hand, in a society where states themselves are encouraging alternative fuels and the president himself is advocating their use, should it be a punishable offense to use those fuels?

[Source: The Charlotte Observer]

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