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600 E. Boulevard Ave.
  Bismarck, ND 58505-0599
  701.328.7088 phone
  701.328.3700 fax
  877.328.7088 toll-free
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Beth Boustead, Public Information Officer, 701.328.3039
Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Motor Fuels Compliance Checks to be Conducted

BISMARCK, N.D. The Office of State Tax Commissioner, North Dakota Highway Patrol, and the Department of Transportation today announced plans for their agencies to conduct joint dyed diesel fuel compliance checks throughout the state this summer.

"The purpose of the compliance effort is to make sure that drivers using North Dakota's roads are paying the appropriate taxes," said Tax Commissioner Cory Fong. "Some drivers are filling their diesel vehicle's tank with fuel that has not been taxed at the full rate and that isn't fair to those who have followed the law and paid the correct tax."

Clear (undyed) diesel fuel is to be used in licensed roadway vehicles and is taxed at 23 cents per gallon. Dyed diesel fuel is to be used primarily for off road purposes such as industrial, construction and agricultural purposes, and is taxed at a reduced 4-cents per gallon. The cooperative effort of the Department of Transportation, the Highway Patrol, and Tax Department will enable the state to stop and test the tanks of diesel vehicles traveling on state, county or local roadways. Individuals found driving vehicles on roadways with dyed fuel in their tanks will be assessed fines. The fines range from a first violation fine of $250 up to $5,000 for subsequent violations. Any attempt to prevent, stop, or delay an inspection is subject to a civil penalty of $1,000.

"These fuel tax dollars go directly toward funding our state, county, city, and township roads," said Grant Levi, Deputy Director of Engineering for the Department of Transportation. "The more vehicles driving the streets and highways without having paid the correct fuel tax means less money to help build and repair our state's roads."

The Highway Tax Distribution Fund receives the fuel tax paid on gasoline and diesel fuel. Those funds are then distributed 61.3 percent to the state, 34.5 percent to the counties and cities, 2.7 percent to townships, and 1.5% allocated to public transportation.

"It is important to ensure that there are adequate funds to help keep our state and local roadways safe for drivers," said Sergeant Brian Bonness of the Highway Patrol. "The safety of our citizens is important to us."

The Minnesota Department of Revenue is assisting with this effort by performing training seminars with the Office of State Tax Commissioner and Highway Patrol. The seminars will cover the process of dipping diesel fuel tanks, obtaining samples, and testing those samples for traces of dyed fuel.

"Making sure that consumers are following the law is important to petroleum marketers, too," said Mike Rud, President of the North Dakota Petroleum Marketers Association. "We look forward to working with the state to ensure our state fuel tax laws are being enforced."

For more information, contact the Department of Transportation at 701.328.2500; State Highway Patrol at 701.328.2455; or the Tax Commissioner's office at 701.328.3657.

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