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Clear vs. dyed diesel fuel: What’s the difference?

diesel fuelIf you use diesel fuel for your commercial venture, it’s critical to know the differences among the varieties currently available today; each carries its own tax and legal implications that can have a big impact on your business.

Here are some basics about the two types of diesel fuel available to you in the U.S.:

  • Clear diesel – Clear diesel is a road vehicle-grade fuel that is available for sale at gas stations throughout the U.S. This type of fuel is meant for use by the vehicles that travel the roads every day – cars, trucks, SUVs, etc. – along with marine vehicles. When most people think of diesel fuel, this is the fuel they think of.

    Clear fuel has low sulfur levels and is legally taxable. Any vehicle that has a diesel engine and is licensed by the state for on-road use must use this fuel.

  • Red-Dyed diesel – Most dyed diesel sold in the U.S. is colored red (with the chemical additive Solvent Red 26 or 164). By law, red-dyed diesel is only for use in off-road vehicles, including farm tractors, heavy construction equipment, and generators, where higher sulfur fuel use is permissible.

    Because it is not to be used for on-road vehicles, this fuel is not taxed within the United States.

Regulations on dyed diesel

Because dyed diesel is not taxed, federal and state laws strictly regulate its use; penalties for improper use of dyed fuel range from stiff financial penalties to significant jail time. Distributors cannot knowingly transport dyed fuel with the intent to supply on-road vehicles, and fuel retail locations that carry dyed diesel cannot knowingly sell the diesel for use in an on-road vehicle. If you are a retail diesel customer, you cannot knowingly use dyed diesel in an on-road vehicle; if dye is found in an on-road vehicle, the penalties can be extremely high. Be smart!

Looking for supplier of quality on- or off-road diesel for your South Shore area business? We can help! Contact Frank Lamparelli today to learn more.

Frank Lamparelli – Serving Canton, Stoughton, Sharon, Easton and other South Shore communities in MA