Speakout: The Voice of the American Trucker

Overdrive Staff | February 01, 2010

Benefits in handling your own IFTA

As the owner of a carrier that leased owner-operators and the president of the company that created TruckBytes software, I’ve become very familiar with IFTA filings. I encourage leased owner-operators, as well as carriers considering leasing owner-operators, to contact their managing IFTA jurisdictions about owner-operators managing their IFTA accounts and paying their own IFTA taxes. The regulations clearly allow for it. See for yourself by reading the IFTA “Articles of Agreement” at www.iftach.org.

Among the benefits of doing so is increased profit. Also, carriers can reduce IFTA filing man-hours, and most owner-operators who begin managing their own IFTA see overall fuel costs drop immediately.

Most owner-operators purchase fuel according to the cost at the pump, not the actual cost. Operators who pay their own IFTA learn the key to purchasing fuel is to deduct the IFTA tax from the pump price for the jurisdiction in which the purchase is being made.

Also, some owner-operators who use TruckBytes have discovered their carriers are charging them a “service fee” and/or charging them according to the entire fleet miles per gallon average. This is legal for carriers because they pay IFTA fuel taxes according to that average, which can include their leased owner-operators if defined in the lease agreement. In most cases, this practice raises the IFTA fuel tax for the owner-operator and offsets the carrier’s IFTA tax for company trucks.

Owner-operators who do not read or understand their lease agreement are unaware of what they have agreed to with regard to IFTA.


President, Partners in Trucking Inc.

Can chicken oil fuel my truck?

Q: Does chicken oil work as fuel in a big rig, and is its use cost-effective? I have heard that some fast-food restaurants pay for their used oil to be hauled off. While compressed natural gas trucks are available, it seems that chicken oil would be cheaper.

RICHARD MOORE | Jarratt, Va.

A: Some natural products, like soy oil, work in a diesel engine, but only if they are highly refined and carefully blended with regular diesel fuel in the proper proportions. Such a process is economical only on a scale large enough to put fuel in many hundreds of trucks.

Some engine makers won’t approve any fuel based on leftover grease from restaurants, no matter how well refined. Soy oils work much better. I recommend using high-quality, blended diesel fuels sold commercially. Buy only fuel that meets ASTM D6751, the standard for quality fuel, and blended to a percentage (5 or 20 percent, i.e. B5 or B20) that is approved by your engine maker. Drain water out of your tanks regularly, change fuel filters regularly and carry extras.

Even when using properly refined and blended biodiesel fuels, be cautious about running in the winter.

— Equipment Editor John Baxter

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marguerita“You can make good margaritas out of this stuff – nice and slushy.”

— Jerry Dusdal in the season finale of “Ice Road Truckers,” about melting road ice.

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