|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||Contact: Kevin Schatz, Motor Fuel, Oil & Special Tax Supervisor, 701.328.3657|
|Thursday, November 8, 2012||Peggy Brintnell, Executive Assistant, 701.328.2771|
Over 3,000 Motor Fuels Compliance Checks Conducted Since October 2011
BISMARCK, N.D. – The Office of State Tax Commissioner and the North Dakota Highway Patrol conducted more than 3,000 random joint dyed diesel fuel compliance checks since October 2011. The checks found less than two percent of the vehicles were in violation. The compliance checks are part of the ongoing motor fuel inspections work to ensure motorists are using the proper diesel fuel.
"The purpose of the compliance checks 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. Not only are these drivers violating the law, it is unfair to those who have followed the law and paid the correct tax."
Over the past year, the cooperative effort of the Department of Transportation, the Highway Patrol and Tax Department enabled the state to stop and test 3,100 tanks of diesel vehicles traveling on state, county or local roadways. The checks, conducted statewide at 14 different locations, found 53 individuals, or 1.7 percent, driving vehicles on roadways with dyed fuel in their tanks. 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 rate of 4 cents per gallon. The individuals were assessed fees of $13,250. Fees range from $250 for a first violation up to $5,000 for subsequent violations.
"These fuel tax dollars go directly toward funding our state, county, city and township roads," said Fong. "The more vehicles driving the roads and highways without having paid the correct fuel tax means less money to help build and repair our state's transportation infrastructure, which serves as the backbone of North Dakota's economic engine."
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.
"During the 2011-13 biennium, the state dedicated an unprecedented amount of funding for roads and highways, and the state will continue its commitment during the 2013-15 biennium," said Francis Ziegler of the North Dakota Department of Transportation. "It is important to have the right compliance measures in place to ensure the security of those funding sources and the North Dakota Department of Transportation has been glad to support this initiative."
It is important to ensure that there are adequate funds to help keep our state and local roadways safe for drivers," said Col. James Prochniak of the North Dakota Highway Patrol. "The safety of our citizens is important to us."
For more information, contact the State Highway Patrol at 701.328.2455 or the Tax Commissioner's office at 701.328.3657.
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