Frequently asked questions about red diesel

Here at Ingoe Oils, we’ve been supplying red diesel for many years and answered many questions our customers have had about this fuel. So we’ve put together a list of the most frequenty asked questions.

Whether you’re new to red diesel, or you’ve been buying it for years and wanted to learn a little more about it. We’ve put together this information to hopefully help anybody wanting to learn more about red diesel

Of course we can’t expect to have covered every question you may have about red diesel. So that being the case, if you have any further questions, give our team a call today on 0800 917 7493 to ask any further questions and learn more.

What is Red Diesel?

Red diesel is used in numerous industries that rely on diesel fuel to power vehicles used off-road and diesel powered machinery, such as agricultural, construction and many more industries.

The fuel duty on red diesel is lower than the standard white/road diesel available from petrol stations, making it a popular option for those who can legally use it.

Why is red diesel red?

It’s not naturally red, the colour comes from the inclusion of red dye and chemical markers which are added to standard white diesel, to help inspectors easily identify it when checking for illegal usage.

Where can I buy red diesel?

Here at Ingoe Oils, our vast network of red diesel depots strategically locate across the UK, allow us to supply red diesel to our customers within 24-48 hours, with quantites ranging from 500 litres through to 36,000 or more.

What is the current price of red diesel in 2019?

If you’re looking for the latest price for red diesel, the best thing you can do is to fill in the quote form on this page or call our fuel experts to discuss your exact requirements so we can base any quote on your needs and requirements.

Give our fuel experts a call today by calling us on 0800 917 7493.

Can I buy red diesel in barrels?

Although we do supply many of our customers with red diesel to store in their own fuel tanks. We do understand there are many reasons why you may prefer to receive your red diesel delivery in 205 litre barrels.

As so, we can suppy your business with red diesel in barrels, also known as oil drums, which are built to hold 205 litres of oil.

What can I use red diesel for?

Because red diesel is capable of powering any diesel powered engines, it’s naturally assumed that any vehicle that runs on diesel should be able to use it.

Although technically correct, the truth is that HMRC place very stringent regulations on the actual usage of red diesel on public roads. So unless you’re absolutely sure you can legally use it for your intended usage. It’s always best to check with HMRC first.

As well as being used in vehicles, it’s also used in diesel powered machinery, generators and often for burning in boilers for heating. However, we do recommend that you use alternatives heating fuels for heating purposes.

Is red diesel known by any other names?

The name red diesel came about due to the red dye which is added to it giving it, its distinct red colour. However, this has only been the case since 1961, so many of the older names for this type of fuel are still often widely used in many industries.

For instance, as well as being known as red diesel, it is also known as gas oil, cherry red, agricultural diesel, cherry juice, 35 seconds, medium diesel, tractor diesel, digger fuel and generator diesel.

Can I drive on the public roads using red diesel?

In the majority of cases, the answer is no to this. If you’re unsure about the legallity of using red diesel, it would be adviseable to contact HMRC directly in order to discuss your planned usage before doing so.

However, in limited circumstances, there are exceptions in which you could legally use a vehicle running on red diesel on public roads. These include farmers or landowners who needs to gain access to a section of land which is divided by a public road of no further than 1.5km.

Farmers and tractor owners who also plan to help their communities during the winter months by gritting public roads to clear ice, frost and snow can also legally use red diesel to grit public roads.

Which vehicles can I use red diesel in?

Technically any vehicle with a diesel engine, can use red diesel. However, that does not mean that you should fill your vehicle with red diesel is you plan to drive on public roads.

Anybody caught using red diesel to operate their vehicles on public roads will be liable to prosecution, since this is considered tax evasion as red diesel is taxed differently to the white/road diesel you would typically fill your vehicles with at petrol filling stations.

Is it legal to use red diesel for gritting on public roads?

There was a time when farmers and other tractor owners planning to grit public roads within the communities would be required to empty their tanks of red diesel before refilling them with road diesel.

However, this was a great inconvenience, especially since this had to be done when the temperatures were very low and difficult to work in. This in turn would have caused delays in their ability to respond quickly to a change in the weather.

For this reason, HMRC updated their rules in 2012 to allow the use of red diesel on public roads by agricultural vehicles (eg. tractors) to keep rural roads safe and open for their communities. These days, light agricultural vehicles and agricultural material handlers can legally use rebated fuel when gritting roads.

Read more about this on the HMRC website here.

Can tractors using tractor diesel drive on the road?

If you’re using a tractor or other farming machinery which is legally allowed to drive on public roads. Then you are permitted to use red diesel on the road only for purposes relating to agriculture, horticulture of forestry.

However, you will only be allowed to travel up to 1.5 kilometres on public roads if it is, for example, to get from one area of farmland to another.

HMRC also allow tractors which are used to help grit roads in snowy/frosty/icy conditions to drive on a public road using red diesel.

For more information, read the legislation here.

Can I run my car on red diesel if I only drive it on a farm?

The answer to this is going to be yes, but only if your car is going to be used exclusively on your private property or land for farming related activity. If you or anybody else then takes the car onto public roads, you’ll be breaking the law.

If you do plan to use red diesel in your car on your own land and do not plan to drive it on public roads. You should also consider delcaring your vehicle as off-road by filling in a “Statutory Off Road Notification” SORN with DVLA.

Can I put red diesel and road diesel in separate tanks on my tractor?

Although this makes practical sense, it’s not something that you could legally do as it would make it very difficult for the authorities to know which of the fuel tanks were in operation whilst the tractor was being operated on public roads.

As so, you must only use either red diesel or road diesel in your fuel tank(s) at any one time. You should never carry both types in fuel tanks capable of feeding the engine, even if you have no intention of using red diesel on public roads.

What is the fine for using red diesel illegally?

Although there is no fixed fine for the illegal usage of red diesel, the minimum you can expect HMRC to do if you care caught using it, is to charge you for the restoration of your vehicle’s system (including the cleaning of your tank and filters to remove the marker dye).

There will also likley be a fee for removal of the red diesel and in some cases, you can also expect to be charged for the missing fuel duty that you would have paid, had you been using white diesel instead.

Why is red diesel cheaper than road diesel?

The reason why red diesel is cheaper than the road diesel fuel you’ll typically fill your vehicle up with at petrol filling stations is because of the lower tax rate.

Red diesel’s lower tax rate was introduced to help industries which use it such as farming, food manufacture, construction, etc, which are all considered to be vital to the UK’s infrastructure

If you use red diesel on public roads illegally, you will have avoided paying the additional charges and taxes you would have paid, had you filled up your vehicle with standard road diesel.

If you’re caught using red diesel on public roads, this is then considered to be tax evasion and anyone caught doing so will be faced with fines and prosecution.

Will I need a licence to buy red diesel?

No, you won’t need a licence, although you will need to sign an RDCO form to declare that the fuel you have purchased will not be used in contravention of the Hydrocarbon Oil Duties Act 1979 or any amending legislation.

However, the oil company where you buy your red diesel from should be registered with HMRC if they sell controlled oils (rebated bio blend, kerosene and aviation turbine fuel).

It is therefore the responsibility of the dealer of controlled oils to make sure that the fuel is being used legitimately. They may also pass on all transaction details to HMRC, who inturn can relay this information to the Road Fuel Testing Units (RFTU).

To find out more about this, visit HMRC.

What are the laws and regulations for storing red diesel on a farm?

If you plan to store red diesel on a farm, or any other land or property for that matter. Then you must do so in a safe and effective manner which ensures the fuels are protected from spillage, loss or theft.

Every situation is different, so for this reason the following recommendations should only be used as general guideance. In order to determine your specific needs and requirements, you may well be advised to speak to HMRC directly.

To adhere to general oil storage requirements, there ae numerous points to consider. But in general, you must ensure that you have a structurally sound storage tank to both prevent and limit accidental spills and leaks.

Other equipment you’ll potentially require include, drip trays, pumps, and ancillary equipment. The integrity of both the tank and ancillary equipment must be of a standard which will ensure against leaks and breaks.

The structural integrity of your storage tank and regular maintenance should ensure that the red diesel should last around 20 years. But this is based on the assumption that your storage tank and stored fuels will be maintained throughout the years to prevent unwanted leaks and pollution.

Ensuring the tank has an impermeable bund base and walls will also help to prolong the life of the tank and stored fuels.

Another consideration is the location of your storage tank, it needs to be both accessible to the vehicles both being filled by and used to fill the storage tank. But also needs to be clear of any ‘site traffic’, to avoid any accident knocks and bangs from vehicles as they attempt to navigate around and passed your storage tank.

You should also consider the implications of any fuel leaks and their impact on the environment through contamination and pollution of the environment. All possible measures need to be though through, as so, it’s advisable to ensure that you do not build your storage tank within 50 meters of any boreholes or within 10 meters from inland and coastal waters. Especially if there is evidence of any coastal erosion in recent years.

How do they test for red diesel?

It’s actually far easier these days for HMRC’s Road Fuel Testing Units (RFTU) to test fuel samples at the roadside, with new chemical markers and machines capable of testing for chemical traces in fuel samples.

You can find more information about HMRC’s fuel testing here.

What happens if I accidentally put red diesel in my car?

Of course mistakes do happen, so if this does happen to you, you need to drain the red diesel from your car immediately if you plan to use your car on public roads.

It’s also adviseable to contact HMRC directly for further guidance. Even if you do remove the red diesel from your fuel tank, the chemical markers and red red dye, even in small amounts, could still be traceable in your tank for months to come. 

Can the red dye be removed from red diesel?

It’s possible to remove the red dye from red diesel, but it’s not something you should be considering as this is known as fuel laundering and is highly illegal.

If you’re caught undertaking such activities, you will likely be prosecuted for fuel laundering which would lead to a large fine and a potential prison sentence.

What is the rate of VAT on red diesel?

Red diesel is a highly rebated fuel which is subject to a duty rate of 5% when ordering up to 2300 litres. Then for orders over 2300 litres, this reverts to a standard 20% VAT rate.

How can I reclaim the tax on red diesel?

When you buy red diesel, you should make your supplier/dealer aware of your intend use for the fuel. Whether that be for propulsion or heating (for heating, we recommend home heating oil and industrial heating oil). If you do not intend to use your red diesel fuel as road fuel, it is then classed as a tied oil.

If you intend to apply for a tax rebate for your fuel, you will need to apply for approval by HMRC by filling in form HO27 and returning it to HMRC for their concideration.

You can learn more about excise duty relief here.

Can I run back-up generators on red diesel?

This is a popular use for red diesel, powering back-up generators in various industries. Whether that be in construction and agriculture, or for datacentres and hospitals. There are many industries who rely on the low fuel duty to save money on powering their back-up generators.

Can I use red diesel in a boiler to heat my business?

There are many people who use red diesel to heat their homes and businesses. Due to the different specs of heating boilers, you would be advised to contact your manufacturer if you plan to use red diesel safely.

However, there are alternatives to using red diesel in heating systems which may be more suitable for many people. For homes, we would advise you to consider using home heating oil for homes and industrial heating oil for businesses, both of which coud well be more suitable for heating.

Can I use red diesel in a boat?

Yes, you can use red diesel legally in boats for a mixed usage of power for domestic facilities such as heating, lighting, air condition and hot water. You can also use it legally for propulsion too.but the full rate of fuel duty must be paid on this amount.

At the time of purchase, it’s important to make clear to the supplier, what percentage of red diesel is going to be used for power and heating and what percentage is going to be used for propulsion. Any fuel used for propulsion will be liable for additional fuel duty.

You can find more information about using red diesel in boats here.

Can I use red diesel in a yacht?

As with boats, you can use red diesel legally in yachts for a mixed usage of power for domestic facilities such as heating, lighting, air condition and hot water. You can also use it legally for propulsion too.but the full rate of fuel duty must be paid on this amount.

At the time of purchase, it’s important to make clear to the supplier, what percentage of red diesel is going to be used for power and heating and what percentage is going to be used for propulsion. Any fuel used for propulsion will be liable for additional fuel duty.

You should also bear in mind that these laws only apply, whilst you’re sailing in UK waters. If you intend to take any pleasure craft trips outside of UK waters, then your use of red diesel will be subject to the laws of the sovereign nation for which you are sailing in.

You can find more information about using red diesel in yachts here.

What can I do with my unwanted/surplus fuel?

If you have red diesel or any other fuels that you no longer require, you will need to contact a specialist company who will be able to assist you with the removal of your waste fuels.

Of course, depending on the condition of the fuel, you may have considered selling it to another business for their own use. However, you cannot be sure who will purchase and ultimately how they will use them.

So to be on the safe side, it would be advisable to have a professional company come to your premises and uplift and remove the fuels for you safely, in order to prevent any possible spillages from your old storage tank.

If it’s found that the fuels are in good condition and are capable of being reconditioned and made into a good enough state to be re-used. They can then be re-sold.

However, if your old and unwanted fuels have now degraded too severely for remediation. Your old fuels will need to be professionally disposed of.

Here at Ingoe Oils, we can help you with the safe removal of your unwanted fuel supplies. Whether they might be red diesel or any other fuels you may have stored within your storage tanks.

Order your red diesel today…

Whether you’ve found the answers to your questions here or not, our team of experts can provide you with answers to any of your other questions you may have.

You can also call us today on 0800 917 7493 if you would like to discuss your requirements and request a red diesel quote.