Archive for August, 2008

No Fuel Taxes for a Year.

August 22, 2008

tax cutWell, I spoke with the department of revenue and they didn’t know anything about the rumored tax bust, but they were going to check into it. Good News?

And, as of September 1st 2008 until August 31st 2009, I don’t have to file Alaska state motor fuel tax. (All state motor fuel taxes are suspended with the new energy relief package.)

The $0.08 a gallon isn’t much to pay, and it only takes five minutes to fill out the form, but it is annoying to file every month.

As a personal-use microproducer (of biodiesel and SVO “biodiesel”) I won’t be tracked or taxed this year, so the state revenue folks asked me not to report. And, in this land of libertarian leave-me-aloners, it’s not too surprising that I’m the only person statewide to be reporting biodiesel/SVO use. (My wild guess is that there are maybe 3-500 microproducers/vegburners statewide.)

Remember, we still have to pay quarterly FEDERAL tax to a tune of $0.244 a gallon. If you forgot, it’s form 720, line 60(c) and Schedule A (biweekly production). You’ll need a EIN for both state and federal filing.

Although motor fuels are tax-exempt for a year, the department of revenue is still tracking fuel supplies and use.

They are asking everyone producing/using biodiesel/SVO to please register. They did note that producers selling or distributing beyond their immediate family, biodiesel/svo coops and businesses producing for fleet use may still have to report this year, even if not paying taxes.

So, everyone producing biodiesel or burning SVO (“biodiesel”) please contact Jamie Taylor at 907-269-6948, and she’ll set you up.

She’s helpful and generally supportive of exempting personal use microproducers. But remember, it’s the legislature that has the authority to extend the tax holiday, exempt personal use, or change the filing schedule to quarterly. Tell your state representatives you want a permanent exemption for personal biodiesel/SVO production and use!

Veg On!

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Rumors of a Tax Evasion Grease Bust!

August 20, 2008

wacky packages jail-oYep, I got a call today from a new SVO driver who wanted to know about vegoil and taxes.

The rumor out in the Matsu Valley is that the State Troopers are checking fuel tanks for tax evasion.

Supposedly they found a guy with big svo sticker and slapped him with a $800 fine for not paying the Alaska motor fuel tax.

I’ve been wondering how many folks have actually taken my advice and started paying their 8 cents a gallon to the state.

Now, I don’t have a great source for this info. It came by way of a phone conversation by way of a gas station conversation in Palmer by way of a “my buddy” story. I’ve got a call in to the Department of Revenue to see if I can verify any of this, but heck.. the rumor is already started.

Seems kinds funny this would happen now, as the latest petroleum profit payoff plan includes suspending the state motor fuel tax. (Yep, for you who don’t live in the last frontier, it’s true: every man, woman and child in Alaska is getting about three grand this fall from our oil investment “dividend” with a one-time “energy relief” bonus tacked on. That’s in addition to no income tax, no sales tax, and now no fuel tax!)

The other thing that doesn’t make sense is that I was told by a local petroleum distributor that Alaska is exempt from off-road dye requirements. How would the State Troopers test fuel if not by color?

Anyone know any more about this?

Veg On!

Stealing Grease in Anchorage.

August 14, 2008

grease thiefSorry to say, but five dollar diesel has brought bad vibes to the Anchorage vegoil community.

Alaska Mill and Feed has informed us that some of their yellow grease barrels have been stolen, and a few have been pumped dry. What’s more, some local veg-fueled folks have had someone trying to pull their restaurants out from under them – and not in the nice “Is anyone else picking up your oil?” kind of way.

Wow. Mill and Feed has been Southcentral Alaska’s grease collection company for 30 years. They gone from paying for oil in the early days (to coat their animal feeds), to charging up to $30 for oil (in the lean years), and now have dropped their prices to just $10 a drum – including pickup. We’ve also heard a couple of small commercial outfits have started competing collection services. Just two years ago Mill and Feed could barely sell their oil for a profit. Now everyone wants a slice of the action.

The agreement we’ve come to with Mill and Feed over the years is that veg-fueled folks are welcome to collect grease, directly from the kitchen, for personal use. In return we’ve agreed not to compete on a commercial level.

Looks like some folks are trying to test the waters. I can only imagine that Mill and Feed won’t take kindly to folks not playing by the rules.

It’s also accepted within the veg community that we don’t take each other’s restaurants.

It’s bad juju, and we don’t take kindly to folks not playing by the rules.

We estimate that only about three-quarters of restaurants in Southcentral Alaska have their grease collected. There’s still a LOT of used cooking oil out there.

Folks, keep the scene healthy. Running vegoil isn’t free. It takes time instead of money. If you need oil, put your time in and find one of the places that still needs grease picked up. If you want to make some money at it, play nice and we’ll welcome you with open arms.

Veg On!

Biodiesel at the Renewable Energy Fair – Aug 9th Anchorage

August 1, 2008

REAP logoThe Renewable Energy Alaska Project is putting on their 3rd Annual Renewable Energy Fair Saturday August 9th, 11am-9pm at the Anchorage Parkstrip.

We will have a number of diesel vehicles running vegoil-SVO conversions for folks to check out, and will have a FREE introductory biodiesel and SVO seminar at 3pm. We’ve still got some spaces if you greasy drivers want to show off your rigs.

The fair itself is a great collection of renewable professionals and proponents from across the state, mixed in with great green vendors, scrumptious food and rocking tunes.

Daniel Lerch from the Post-Carbon Institute is the 5:15pm keynote speaker. “Daniel manages the Post Carbon Cities program, providing resources and assistance to local governments on peak oil and climate change. He is the author of Post Carbon Cities: Planning for Energy and Climate Uncertainty, the first major municipal guidebook on peak oil and global warming.”

A big thank you goes out to the Knik Group Sierra Club for sponsoring our Alaska Biodiesel and SVO Network booth.

For those of you looking to make a day of it, other workshops include:

Noon:
Deborah Williams, The Role of Renewable Energy in Addressing Global Warming
Peter Crimp, Wood Energy in Alaska – Renewed Interest in an Old Standby
Marvin Kuentzel and RJ Vasser, Renewable Energy System Design Basics

1 pm:
Robin Richardson, Just One More Reason to Watch What We Eat… The Amazing Relationship Between Food and Energy
Steve Gilbert, Fire Island Wind Update
Eric Yould, Hydropower in Alaska

2 pm:
Mike Willmon, Electric Vehicle Technology
Maryellen Oman and Cynthia Wentworth, Commuter Rail… It’s Time Has Come
David Lockard, Alaska’s Near-term Geothermal Development Prospects

3 pm:
Will Taygan, Backyard Biodiesel
Andy Baker, Solar Hot Water for Homeowners and Businesses
Chris Rose, Renewable Energy Policy in Alaska: Successes and Challenges

4 pm:
Bill Leighty, Brining Alaska’s Large, Diverse, Stranded Renewables to Alaska and Global Markets as Hydrogen and Ammonia with Firming Storage
Larry Flowers, Wind Energy: an Alaskan Opportunity
Doug Johnson, Overview of Tidal and In-Stream Hydrokinetic Projects in Alaska

Veg On!