‘Bob Teixeira decided it was time to take a stand against U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
So last fall the Charlotte musician and guitar instructor spent $1,200 to convert his 1981 diesel Mercedes to run on vegetable oil. He bought soybean oil in 5-gallon jugs at Costco, spending about 30 percent more than diesel would cost.
His reward, from a state that heavily promotes alternative fuels: a $1,000 fine last month for not paying motor fuel taxes. He has been told to expect another $1,000 fine from the federal government.
To legally use veggie oil, state officials told him, he would have to first post a $2,500 bond.
Teixeira is one of a growing number of fuel-it-yourselfers — backyard brewers who recycle restaurant grease or make moonshine for their car tanks. They do it to save money, reduce pollution or thumb their noses at oil sheiks.
They’re also caught in a web of little-known state laws that can stifle energy independence.’