Charlotte Man Converts Car To Veggie Oil; Gets Fined By State

Thumbing your noise at oil sheiks can cost you in North Carolina. Bob Teixeira, a Charlotte guitar teacher, took a stand against U-S dependence on foreign oil last fall.

He spent $1200 to convert his 1981 diesel Mercedes to run on vegetable oil. He buys soybean oil in 5-gallon jugs at Costco, which costs him about a third more than diesel.

But the state fined Teixeira a thousand dollars for not paying motor fuel taxes. Officials also told him that to legally use veggie oil here he'd have to first post a $2500 bond.

Teixeira and similar drivers may get a break.

Department of Revenue officials have asked lawmakers to waive the bond for small fuel users and will compromise on Teixeira's fine. But the state's not about to drop its taxes on all fuels used in highway vehicles.

North Carolina's 29.9¢ tax on a gallon of gas generates $1.2 billion each year to pay for road construction.