Dyed Diesel Fuel vs. Regular Diesel – What’s the Difference?

mobile fueling of off road dieselDid you know there are three types of diesel fuel ?

Off-road Diesel : doesn’t have state and federal taxes. But, it does contain more sulfur. Sometimes it’s called red-dyed diesel, alternative fuel, red fuel, off-highway diesel, or farm diesel. And, it’s not intended to be used for vehicles driven on the road. Red dye is only for use off-road. For example: in construction red dye fuel would be used for heavy equipment like

  • Cranes
  • Earth movers
  • Caterpillars
  • Loaders
  • Backhoes
  • Excavators
  • Compactors
  • Trenchers
  • Cranes
  • Rollers
  • Scrapers
  • Forklifts

Truck Diesel : This is what long-haul truckers use. In some states, the pumps have a “tax-exempt” label on the pump. In that case, to gas up, you need a valid tax certificate posted on the vehicle you’re fueling. Otherwise, you can get a big fine. Also, the truck nozzles are larger and will fill faster. Sometimes it’s too quick for smaller tanks. The fuel itself is the same as automobile diesel.

Automobile Diesel : This fuel is for cars, SUVs, and regular trucks. Automobile diesel is the same as truck diesel, but the pump nozzles are not as big. And, sometimes the “automobile diesel” is priced higher than truck diesel. But, remember – to use the “truck diesel” you may need a tax-exempt permit.

Check out this video “ Off-road diesel, truck diesel, automobile diesel .” Starting at 1:00 into the video, you’ll see what red diesel looks like.

Can I use dyed diesel in my truck?

Legally no. And that’s the reason for the red dye. The color is detectable at extremely low levels. If you’re caught using off-road diesel on-road, you better get ready for a hefty fine. Other than the appearance and higher sulfur content, red fuel isn’t any different from regular diesel.

What’s the difference in red and green diesel fuel?

Besides the color, these two fuels have many similarities .

  • Red – used for off-road. Mainly for construction and farming. Because it’s tax-free, it’s dyed red for easy detection.
  • Green – it’s not really the color green. The green diesel is clear like regular diesel. It’s called green because it’s eco-friendly and renewable.

Where Can You Find Dyed Diesel Fuel?

Ricochet Fuel has provided off-road diesel delivery for almost 30 years. We service Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Oklahoma, and 9 other states with fuel cards available nationwide. We specialize in servicing construction, auto dealerships, fleets, and power generation. We would be happy to talk to you about your fuel needs. Call us today.

Learn about everything Ricochet Fuel has to offer from our Bulk Fuels and Fuel Services Brochure.

How Much Cheaper is Texas Dyed Diesel?

bulk dyed diesel for construction sites in Texas

It depends. For one vehicle, it might not make that much difference over a month. But, if you have a fleet of off-road construction equipment, the savings can be substantial.

Why is Texas Dyed Diesel Cheaper?

The answer is pretty simple. Texas dyed diesel is cheaper because it is not subject to state and federal excise taxes .

Regular diesel sold for vehicles used on public roads has state and federal taxes. So, diesel for your truck, car, or SUV would cost more than for your excavator or dozer. You can find out more about dyed diesel fuel tax in Texas from the Comptrollers website.

You may have heard dyed diesel called by these other names:

  • off-road diesel
  • off-highway diesel
  • red fuel
  • red diesel
  • alternative fuel

What is Texas Dyed Diesel Used For?

The Texas Comptroller’s Dyed Diesels Fuel end-user application has all the information you need. It specifically goes over the use of dyed diesel for non-agricultural and agricultural use:

Dyed diesel for “non-agricultural authorizes the tax-free purchase of only dyed diesel fuel for use in off-highway equipment operated in Texas for non-agricultural purposes. Non-agricultural purposes include diesel fuel used by construction companies (road, commercial buildings or residential), manufacturers (forklifts, loaders, welding machines, space heaters or generators), commercial trucking companies or excavating companies (land clearing or mowing services). Non-agricultural also consists of agricultural cooperatives, associations, cotton gins, farm supply stores, tractor supply stores, feed stores or veterinary services.”

Dyed diesel “for agricultural users authorizes the tax-free purchase of only dyed diesel fuel for exclusive use in agricultural off-highway equipment operated in Texas, such as a tractor or combine, on a farm or ranch. A farm or ranch is one or more tracts of land used, either in whole or in part, in the production of crops, livestock and/or other agricultural products held for sale in the regular course of business. A feed lot, livestock auction facility, dairy farm, poultry farm, commercial orchard, commercial nursery, timber operation or similar commercial agricultural operation is a farm or ranch. Timber operations include the production of timber including land preparation, planting, maintenance and gathering of trees commonly grown for commercial timber.”

Source: www.Comptroller.texas.gov “Texas Dyed Diesel Fuel End User Signed Statement Number Registration” 2018. https://comptroller.texas.gov/forms/ap-197.pdf

How to buy dyed diesel in Texas

The ins and outs of purchasing red diesel can be complicated. But there are three necessary things you have to do:

1. Make sure you qualify. Here are the dyed diesel fuel regulations Texas

2. Fill out the forms – make sure you keep copies of everything

3. Choose fuel with the right specifications

Where can you find off-road diesel?

For almost 30 years, Ricochet Fuel has provided off-road diesel delivery, and our diesel fuel SDS shows our quality. We offer customized services to all industries, especially construction. Call us today about the delivery of dyed diesel fuel directly to your site.