Plantoil/diesel conversion basics
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I read in a mercedes forum that the EPA considers svo as a fuel to be illegal. Is this ture? Are they prosecuting anyone for this? If you pay your fuel taxes will this help the EPA track you? I am all set to do a conversion but don't feel that being convicted of a felony or misdemeanor is worth it. Does anyone have any knowledge of the legalities of this?

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danalinscott

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Reply with quote  #2 
For many years this was not an issue..then it was..and then it wasn't. It may be again. Confused? You are not alone.

Here is the best explanation I can provide.

All fuels used in the US must undergo a certification process (per the Clean Air Act) before they are recognized as "legal" fuels by the EPA (the govt agency charged with enforcing the CAA). This certification process is very expensive and so due to the lack of cooperation/organization of the VO fuel conversion "industry" is unlikely to occur in the foreseeable future.

However..(I believe that ) the EPA recognizes it would be nearly impossible to enforce the CAA on the few individuals and businesses that sell or use VO as a fuel. It would certainly not be cost effective. And just as enforcing the legislation that makes producing and selling VO conversion kits questionably legal would probably not be perceived as a "good thing" by the general public during times when "alternative energy research and development" is being encouraged by nearly any politician (that has hopes of being elected/re-elected) the EPA has solved the problem (of having the responsibility pf  enforcing a law that will discourage development of VO fuel) at least temporarily. They are expected to enforce the provisions of the Clean Air Act on anything they consider a "fuel" and so have simply stated that they "do not consider VO a fuel".   It may not make sense to the average person but it works in the legal sense as a completely legitimate loophole that few will consider wise to challenge.

It is possible (but very unlikely) that this will change in the foreseeable future.

This loophole does NOT however work as a defense for not paying fuel tax on any VO that you actually use as a fuel. But only state departments of revenue appear to have any interest in collecting fuel tax on private individuals using VO as fuel. Commercial users/vendors of VO fuel are a different matter. They are wisest to remit taxes on any VO used as fuel to BOTH their state revenue dept AND the IRS.  A few states have exempted VO fuel from state road tax so check first if you plan on paying it.

If you pay the tax due on fuel in your state on all VO you use as fuel AND are not a commercial seller/user of VO fuel there is a very...very small chance that you will have any legal repercussions. In My Opinion that chance is about the same as getting struck by lightning.

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Dana danalinscott@yahoo.com
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