Everything You Need to Know About Red Diesel


There are many different types of fuel and lubricant products available and ensuring you use the right type of fuel for your vehicle or industry is very important. Red diesel is commonly used in agriculture and construction but you will be breaking the law if you use red diesel in road-going vehicles.

Here, we’ve put together a guide of everything you need to know about red diesel, explaining exactly what it is and when it should be used.

What is red diesel?

Red diesel is exactly the same as regular diesel, except it’s red. Its intended purpose is for industries such as agriculture and construction. Dye is added to the fuel to make it obvious when red diesel has been used instead of regular diesel so that authorities can see if someone is breaking the law. It’s illegal to use red diesel in road-going vehicles because of the tax benefits. Red diesel and regular diesel have the exact same properties but the only thing separating them is their colour and their price.

It is a criminal offence if you use red diesel when you aren’t supposed to. This is because the VAT charged on red diesel is much lower than regular diesel, it’s 5% up to 2,300 litres and 20% above 2,300 litres. This can save you a lot of money if you’re permitted to use red diesel such as for agricultural fuel or construction fuel.

Red diesel fuel is made through a refining process where crude oil is pumped out of the ground to produce a thick, black liquid. A distillation process then transforms crude oil into a variety of fuels, one of which is diesel. The red dye is then added to create red diesel.

History of red diesel

Red diesel fuel was originally used mainly for heating so didn’t have any fuel duty tax until 1935 when the development of diesel road vehicles meant people were using diesel fuel in their cars. The government then withdrew the rebate for road vehicles but it remained in place for all other users such as tractors and agricultural machinery. After this time, chemical markers and red dye were added to help HMRC and the authorities detect it in fuel tanks if it was being used illegally. The red dye will stay in your tank even after the fuel is gone, so it will be clear years after if you have broken the law.

What industries use red diesel?

There are strict rules about who can use red diesel, so making sure you’re eligible to use it is important. It can be used by farmers, in civil engineering, construction and hospitals. It is also used for machinery such as tractors, cranes, forklifts and for heating in commercial and industrial buildings. Tractors can still drive on the roads if they are fuelled by red diesel as long as it is less than 1.5km or to grit roads during bad weather. Any machine, vehicle or generator that can run off regular diesel can use red diesel fuel as long as it is within the law. Agricultural fuel is high in demand so a lot of red diesel is brought by farms.

The reason these industries are able to use red diesel is because the rebate is intended to help businesses make a profit, so it’s vital they are able to claim certain duties such as gas oil. A few examples of those able to benefit from the tax reduction are milk bottling factories, dairy farms, schools, hospitals and construction companies.

The government lists the following ‘excepted vehicles’ that are able to run on red diesel:

  • Unlicensed vehicles not in use on roads
  • Tractors
  • Light agricultural vehicles
  • Agricultural material handlers
  • Agricultural engines
  • Agricultural processing vehicles
  • Mowing machines
  • Snow clearing vehicles
  • Gritters
  • Mobile cranes
  • Mobile pumping vehicles
  • Digging machines
  • Road rollers
  • Tar sprayers

What are the laws surrounding red diesel for sale?

Some people may come to believe that the use of red diesel is illegal for everybody because of news of people being prosecuted for using it. The use of this fuel isn’t illegal as long as you are using it correctly. In 2017, 15% of total diesel use in the UK was red diesel which accounts for £2.4 billion a year in tax reductions.

As it is illegal to use red diesel fuel on public roads, you should be careful not to accidentally use it, as if you get caught your car will be seized and you may have to pay a fine as well as a fee to release your vehicle. They can also charge you for restoration of your vehicle’s system, cleaning of your tanks and filters and removal of the diesel. However, if you realise you have used red diesel when you weren’t meant to, you should drain your tank immediately or contact HMRC and follow their instructions.

Benefits of a lower red diesel price

The lower price of red diesel fuel is the main benefit for industry consumers and is a great way to make your business more profitable in comparison to using regular diesel. The VAT is taken off when you purchase the fuel so you don’t need to wait to claim this back at a later date. While you are able to buy red diesel at a ‘wet depot’ pump, if you are ordering in large quantities, it is easier to order in bulk from a fuel provider who will deliver it and make sure you pay the right amount of VAT.

You can buy red diesel fuel from fuel suppliers who will be able to deliver it to you in large tankers across the UK. Getting your fuel delivered is an easy way to keep your commercial or industrial premises functioning. It’s particularly handy when you are quite far out the way because the fuel company will be able to deliver straight to you, leaving all the hassle out of collecting your own fuel.

Red diesel fuel will last for up to a year if kept in a well-maintained tank. If you are unsure about the quality of your fuel it may be worth getting a trusted fuel supplier to check it for you. It’s important to keep your tank well-maintained and invest in professional fuel tests and tank cleans to avoid costly maintenance in the future.

Finding a quality supplier with red diesel fuel for sale

First of all, have a look at the fuel suppliers that operate in your area as you’ll need to check that they can deliver to you. It will save you a lot of hassle and you’ll have fewer suppliers to compare if you only look at the ones that will be able to deliver to you. For example, if you’re looking for red diesel fuel in Hull you can easily search for this and find the information on their website.

Always check their online reviews to see how reputable the company is. You’ll be able to trust other people’s opinions, especially if everyone is saying they’re a great supplier. They’ll also be able to give you a quote based on your requirements so you can decide if that is a price you’re willing to pay. Give them a call or see if they have a contact form on their website to get a quote.

It’s also worth considering what other services they offer. If you are also in need of heating oil like Kerosene or agricultural fuel, then a supplier may be able to provide you with multiple products. Have a look at their website or contact their team to find out what other fuels they supply.

D & SL Fuels & Lubricants: Quality red diesel for sale in East Yorkshire

D & SL Fuels & Lubricants is a supplier of red diesel offering low tax fuel and delivery for industrial and commercial industries such as agriculture and construction. We can supply a wide range of companies in Hull and the wider East Yorkshire area to help businesses keep running. Whether you need agricultural fuel for your tractor, generator or construction machinery, we can help. Get a free quote by visiting our website and see how much money you can save by choosing us as your red diesel supplier.

We also sell a range of other fuels including kerosene, bottled gas and lubricants, so whatever your business needs, get in touch with our friendly team, we’ll be happy to help.


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