Using Red Diesel? Make Sure Your Business Doesn’t Fall Foul Of The Law

Written by Chloe Harwood

Red diesel is used in many industries, from construction to farming. It is also used – illegally – by private individuals and some companies to fuel their road vehicles. The law around rebated diesel is a little murky, so hopefully, we can clear things up within this article. Ready? Let’s get stuck in right away and clear the waters.

What Is Red Diesel

Red diesel – or rebated diesel – is a fuel that is used in households for heating. It is kept in storage tanks and is usually seen in older houses that do not run on central heating. People have used this type of diesel in their homes for many years, but over time, some cottoned on to the fact that you could use it to fuel the diesel engine in your car. So, when the authorities found out, they, naturally, put a stop to it. Rebated diesel is now known as red diesel because it is dyed red to enable easy identification by police and customs.

Who Can Use It?

Only certain types of vehicle can use red diesel, and they are usually found in the farming and construction industries. You can buy red diesel to fuel cranes, tractors, generators and bulldozers, amongst other things. As a general rule, there are no road vehicles that are permitted to use red diesel.

Why Do People Use It?

Because rebated diesel is so much cheaper than the regular car version (you don’t pay fuel tax on it), a lot of people started using it for driving. There are significant savings to be had. For example, let’s say a litre of car diesel cost you £1.50 at the pumps. At today’s percentage difference, that would cost you around 89 pence for the same amount in rebated diesel. It’s easy to see why so many people take a risk.

What Happens If You Get Caught

Red diesel is an attractive proposition for anyone in the farming or construction industries. Because you buy it for your plant and farm vehicles, it can be tempting to use it for your car, too. But please, don’t. The repercussions can be harsh. You can expect a £250 fine and your vehicle could be seized. If you are reliant on your car for your business, that could be catastrophic. Furthermore, if you are using red diesel for your entire business fleet, every vehicle counts as a single offence. As you can see, using red diesel will soon add up to a very expensive cost-cutting plan.

We hope this has cleared up any doubts you might have about using red diesel. In simple terms, you cannot use it to fuel any road vehicle, and if you have a fleet of vehicles running on red diesel, you are leaving yourself open to financial ruin. While fixing your fuel tanks so they can accept standard diesel again can be expensive, it is far less than the cost if customs catch up with you.

About the author

Chloe Harwood