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10 Facts You Didn’t Know About Off Road Diesel

Ten pressing questions about off road diesel answered

Updated March 15, 2018

1. Why is it Called “Off-Road Diesel”, “Red Diesel”, or “Untaxed Diesel”?

off road diesel pump station

Used for off-road vehicles, construction machinery, farming equipment, and agricultural machinery, off-road diesel (also called Red diesel and untaxed diesel) is a type of diesel exempt from certain kinds of fees, regulations, and taxes compared to standard diesel. Although it is taxed, governing bodies do offer rebates making it cheaper compared to conventional diesel.

2. What is Off-Road Diesel?

Chemically, off-road diesel is exactly the same as conventional diesel fuel. However, its use is limited to certain applications as part of government incentives. Off-road diesel can be used for trucks, as heating fuel, in a generator, or any number of applications.

3. Off-Road Diesel Color

off road diesel vs on road diesel

The name “Red Diesel” comes from the special dye added to it (Solvent Red 26 or Solvent Red 164) to make the fuel visually distinguishable from conventional diesel fuel. Some other popular names are off-road diesel (because it is used for off-road machinery and equipment) and untaxed diesel (well, it is obvious why).

4. Can I Use Off-Road Diesel in My Truck?

off road diesel truck

Technically you can, however, using red diesel for private purposes is illegal. In short, using it outside regulations (like for your private truck or car) makes you a bit of a criminal. It’d technically be classified as tax evasion. Plus, Red diesel used to have higher sulfur content compared with conventional diesel. More about that later on.

5. Why is Off-Road Diesel Illegal?

Rebated off-road diesel is basically a government’s way of giving incentives for construction businesses as well as agriculture and all other businesses that use diesel fuel. Paying less for fuel will definitely improve the chances of making a profit for any business. In that regard, using red diesel for private purposes can get you with a tax evasion charge.

6. Where to Buy Off-Road Diesel

Major oil and gas distributors usually provide red diesel in areas with the highest concentration of businesses that need it. However, if you need an immediate result google “off-road diesel fuel near me”, or visit the Commercial Fueling Network’s (CFN) website, which features a handy search tool.

7. How Cheap is Off-Road Diesel?

The U.S. Energy Information Administration notes this on their site:
“The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) does not publish prices specifically for off-road diesel fuel, also known as non-road or off-highway diesel fuel. “

While I cannot provide official pricing for off road diesel, I can say that some sell it for less than 2 dollars per gallon – with some requirements, of course.

8. Off-Road Diesel Sulfur Content

off road diesel sulfur content

The EPA allowed for a gradual decrease in sulfur content for off road diesel fuel. Before 2006, all off road diesel had 500+ PPM sulfur content. However, with the introduction of mandatory ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) for road-going vehicles, off-road diesel had to be adjusted as well. It took 8 years for refineries and the whole of industry to accept the new standard, which saw a reduction to 15 PPM sulfur content for off-road diesel as well. This drastically lowered the levels of sulfur dioxide and sulfur trioxide gas production, but it did create some problems for refineries that had massive reserves of 500+ PPM sulfur content off-road diesel. According to the law, all of them had to lower the sulfur content in the fuel before selling it.

9. Off-Road Diesel Dye Remover

red diesel dye remover

So now that you know red diesel is typically cheaper than on-road diesel, perhaps you’re asking yourself whether or not that pesky red dye can be removed. Well, it can be done. Intricate homemade systems for red diesel dye removal can be found. Of course, it is an illegal pursuit, but it can be done.

We can’t exactly give you a tutorial, but we can say that there are some pretty strange methods out there. Some folks have used bread as a filter, others have tried tampons, some left the red diesel exposed to the sun, and some have used nappies and the like to soak the dye out.

Nevertheless, whatever you use – it is illegal, and definitely not worth it.

10. Off-Road Diesel in Cars

Red diesel is exactly the same as regular white diesel. The only difference is the red dye. So, technically, you can use it – it won’t damage the diesel engine in a car, and the car will run exactly the same as it would if it were on pump diesel. However, as you’ve probably gathered by now, this is an illegal endeavor.

All in the name of taxes.

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Safet Satara
About Safet Satara

I do not have spare time. All there is is car time. 12 years and counting. I am a Central European gearhead, but you are probably thinking - aaa a disposable Borg drone! Well, actually, I like to dress up like James Bond too. The only thing I need to be him is an Aston Martin (and I love DBS more than DB5 because, reasons). That's something I guess.

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