Mon. Aug 10th, 2020

Red Diesel: The Do’s and Don’ts

Red diesel is often a bit of a confusing topic, especially amongst people who have no use for it in their day-to-day lives. There is a plethora of legislation that governs the use of red diesel, and due to this, it can be called a few different names – which only adds to the confusion of the consumers. Oil distributors Shropshire have a great wealth of knowledge when it comes to the supply and uses of red diesel.

What is Red Diesel?

Red diesel is a fuel that is commonly used to run “off road” vehicles, this particularly applies to rural or farming vehicles such as tractors and quad bikes. Although red diesel is essentially the same as standard road diesel you can purchase from the local petrol station – known as white diesel – it attracts around 40% less in fuel duty, which means that it is significantly cheaper to buy. This is beneficial for businesses that use it, they are able to increase profitability due to the reduced fuel costs.

What Vehicles Can Use Red Diesel?

Red diesel is suitable for all diesel-powered vehicles as it has the same chemical make up as traditional white road diesel. However, due to restrictions it cannot be used on public roads – so it is usually found in tractors, off-road vehicles, construction plant or agricultural plant machinery. It can also be used for boats and other maritime vessels.

Road Exemptions for Red Diesel

There are a couple of minority exemptions when it comes to red diesel vehicles being allowed on the road. For example, if a farmer is travelling between fields he or she is able to drive up to 1.5km on a public road without breaking the law. Also, if a farmer is using their tractor for gritting during bouts of bad weather, they are able to use red diesel. However, under all other circumstances, white diesel must be used for road travel.

Other Names for Red Diesel

Red diesel is commonly called gas oil. However, just to make the situation more complicated, it has a whole host of other names too, including; 35 second fuel oil, tractor diesel, cherry juice, and cherry red, due to the colour.

Is Red Diesel the same as Home Heating Oil?

Just to increase the confusion, the answer to this question is dependent on where in the world you live. In the UK, red diesel and home heating oil are completely different fuels. The majority of domestic heating oil Shropshire in the UK is kerosene, which is a distilled form of crude oil – it provides a much cleaner and more efficient burn than that of gas oil. Although, in most of the rest of the world, including mainland Europe and the USA, red diesel can be used as home heating oil, so in those countries, they are one and the same.

Is a Licence Required to Purchase Red Diesel?

No, you don’t need a licence to buy red diesel – but you will need to sign an RDCO form. The company selling red diesel or any other controlled oils must be registered with HMRC.

It is the responsibility of the dealer of the controlled oils to ensure that the fuel is being used for legitimate purposes – they may be required to pass on details about their transactions to HMRC which can be further used for investigation by the Road Fuel Testing Units (RFTU).

Penalties for Using Red Diesel Illegally

There isn’t a fixed fine for using red diesel illegally, but if you are caught using it without permission then HMRC will charge you for the restoration of your vehicle’s system – this includes the cleaning of your tank and filters to remove the marker dye. You’ll also be charged a fee for the removal of the red diesel and for storing it. In some rare cases, you could also be charged for the difference in price between red diesel and white diesel over the period of time you have been illegally using the red diesel.

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