diesel fueling

What Is Off-Road Diesel?

Off-road diesel or red-dyed fuel is used for machinery that doesn’t operate on roads or highways, like generators, tractors, cranes, bulldozers, backhoes, and bobcats. Shipley Energy can help you get quality off-road diesel that strictly adheres to government regulations.

Frequently Asked Questions About Off-Road Diesel

You may have questions about off-road diesel and using it for your equipment and machinery. Here are the top questions answered.

What Is Off-Road Diesel?

Off-road diesel is used for off-road vehicles and equipment. The price for this diesel does not include road fuel taxes because the machinery isn’t driven on public roads. Off-road diesel is used for construction fueling, heating oil, agricultural use, and vehicles that do not use the highway system.

Why Is Off-Road Diesel Dyed Red?

Off-road diesel is dyed red to distinguish it from on-road diesel. Since the fuels are taxed differently, some drivers may try to use off-road diesel to save money. Authorities can check on-road vehicle tanks with a black light to see if the red dye is present. The red dye is difficult to dilute, making it evident if it’s present during checks.

The federal government requires off-road diesel and kerosene to be dyed red to:

  • Reduce tax evasion: The red dye makes it easy to identify which fuel has been taxed and which hasn’t. Authorities can distinguish between diesel types at a glance.
  • Reduce pollution: The dye makes identifying which diesel is unsuitable for highway use easy, helping to reduce air pollution.

What Is the Difference Between Off-Road and On-Road Diesel?

At the most basic level, the difference between off-road and on-road diesel is the coloring. Off-road diesel is dyed red, while on-road diesel is clear or green. The red-dyed off-road diesel indicates that the fuel has no road tax. Fuel taxes are the most significant difference between red and clear diesel.

Transparent or slightly green diesel is available at gas stations and is appropriate for any vehicle driven on the highway, including pickup trucks, cars, buses, and commercial trucks.

Can You Mix Off-Road Diesel With Regular Diesel?

It is illegal for a licensed, on-road, or farm vehicle to use off-road diesel or red diesel. It takes considerable fuel to dilute the red color, and authorities check road vehicles for it. While it may be possible to mix regular diesel with off-road commercial diesel, it is not advisable.

Red diesel doesn’t have road tax included in the price, so it costs less. Off-road vehicles and agricultural equipment can use regular diesel if it’s mixed in, but the expense of doing so makes it an impractical choice.

Can You Use Off-Road Diesel in an On-Road Vehicle?

As mentioned, it is illegal for any on-road vehicle to use off-road diesel. Your on-road vehicle must use diesel that has been taxed according to regulations. The only exception is in place for on-road vehicles that never leave a specific site or drive on roads or highways.

You can face hefty fines for using off-road diesel in an on-road vehicle — in some cases, $10,000 a day — and authorities do check. Besides the legal implications, your on-road vehicle can experience maintenance issues. If the fuel you use is high or low sulfur and your vehicle has a particulate trap, your emission system may suffer.

What Factors Affect the Price of Off-Road Diesel?

Fuel taxes differ depending on the state you live in and sometimes the municipality. In most cases, the only taxes for off-road diesel are sales taxes. Fuel distributors may have small taxes attached to purchasing the diesel from a wholesale terminal for EPA Superfund cleanup and Leaking Underground Storage Tank cleanup. Beyond these amounts, there are almost no federal, state, or local taxes on off-road diesel.

How Can the Government Test if Someone Used Dyed Fuel?

Regulators may take a fuel sample and check for obvious signs of dye. The authorities will use a specialized black light if the fuel has a slight pink tinge. This light makes even the most minor red dye glow, and it can show up on various components in your system.

Contact Shipley Energy About Your Off-Road Diesel Needs

Shipley Energy has been in the energy business for over 90 years and is an industry leader in off-road diesel in the mid-Atlantic region. We have knowledge, experience, and quality resources, ensuring you have access to a reliable fuel supply to get the job done.

Learn more about our services online or reach out to request an off-road diesel quote.

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