Understanding the Legalities of Gas Oil
Trying to decipher the legalities surrounding gas oil is less difficult than it appears. Also known as ‘red diesel,’ this oil is chemically marked with a red dye, to allow for easy identification by HMRC. This is due to its exclusive use in ‘exempted’ vehicles.
As a rule, UK law stipulates that all vehicles that use the road must use a fuel on which duty is fully paid. This leaves vehicles engaged in agricultural, horticultural, and forestry work as the only vehicles legally permitted to use gas oil. Of course, like all legislation there is common sense built in. For example, if you need to drive your tractor across the road to get to your second field, you won’t be penalised.
Other Road Use Exceptions
If you’re driving a bulldozer or a mobile crane from one location to another, you are legally entitled to use gas oil. The same applies for vehicles used for clearing ice or tractors employed for the cutting of hedges and plants on public roads. If you’re unsure as to whether your vehicle is legally entitled to use gas oil, your best option is to contact HMRC. Use of gas oil in the marine industry is slightly different and you can find out more about marine gas oil here on the site.
HMRC officers are within their rights to request fuel samples to see if vehicles are using gas oil illegally. In fact, penalties are applied to those who obstruct an HMRC officer in this duty. Penalties range from having vehicles or engines seized, to criminal action in the case of deliberate dishonesty.