An ABC Guide to On-Road and Off-Road Diesel
What’s the difference between on-road and off-road diesel? When is it legal to use dyed-diesel fuel? And, how do you make the right decision for your fleet or upcoming construction project? Discover everything you need to know in this informative guide, provided by the fuel experts at your premier fuel distribution company Ricochet Fuel.
Off-Road Diesel is More Affordable Than On-Road
The most common question we get from customers is whether or not they can use red-dyed diesel, and if they can, how much money will they save. It’s true; one of the most significant differences between on-road and off-road diesel is the cost. Off-road diesel isn’t taxed, so it is cheaper than on-road diesel. Plus, in our state of Texas, there are no state or federal excise taxes. Because of that, off-road diesel (often called alternative fuel) can cost about $0.25 less a gallon. That can make a big difference, especially when the price of gas is going up.
Before you get excited about these savings, you should know there are a lot of rules that you have to follow. And if you use off-road fuel in your car or truck that you drive on city streets, county roads, and state highways, it’s illegal. You’re breaking the law.
That’s why the fuel is dyed red. It’s easy for you, and law officials to visually see the red color. There are other ways to detect the dye even in the smallest amounts, like with a fluorescent UV light. Also, using it just a few times when you shouldn’t, can get you into hot water–if you’re caught. Depending on the state and the circumstances, fines for improperly using red diesel can start at $1,000 and go to over $10,000. Significant penalties like that outweigh the .$25 per gallon savings.
Plus, with the recent shutdowns because of COVID-19, much-needed gasoline tax revenues are down. That is the money our states use to repair roads and build new highways. So don’t take a chance using off-road diesel on-road.
Emergency Use of Off-Road Diesel
There are times that it is acceptable and legal to use dyed-diesel in your regular vehicles. That’s in times of emergencies such as hurricanes, storms, and other natural disasters that cause a gasoline shortage. In that case, dyed-diesel might be your only choice.
Dyed Diesel Forms
Here are the two main forms you’ll need to fill out:
- Dyed Diesel Number Registration – this is the form you fill out to apply to use this type of fuel and obtain an end-user number. You can check here to see if your company already has a fuel license.
- Dyed Diesel Bonded User Form – you’ll need to fill this out each month to report how many gallons you’ve used.
Red-Dyed Diesel Used The Right Way
Dyed diesel (sometimes called red-dyed diesel) is most often used for off-road heavy diesel equipment including:
- Heavy construction equipment
- Farm equipment
Off-road diesel is also used to power construction trucks that have transfer tanks and also refrigerated trailers.
Off-Road Diesel For Unlicensed Vehicles
Legally, off-road vehicles and equipment such as construction and big farm machines are called “unlicensed.” That’s different from your truck that’s licensed and you drive around town. You wouldn’t be driving a tractor to go to the store. It’s those types of vehicles and machines that dyed diesel is intended for.
If you have a farm, vineyard, or a construction company you can also use it for:
- Backhoe Loaders
- Skid-Steer Loaders
- Crawler Loaders
- Motor Graders
When you use it legally, you can save truckloads of money when you don’t have to pay the extra tax.
How To Stay Legal With Off-Road Diesel
The four most important things you need to remember when using dyed-diesel fuel is:
- Deal with a reputable fuel source like Ricochet Fuel
- Fill out the right paperwork as we listed above
- Keep your receipts
- Turn in your monthly paperwork.
Those four things will keep you out of trouble and save you money.
Save Time With Dyed-Diesel Delivery
When you have a lot of off-road equipment, you could save time by having the fuel delivered rather than going to the local retail gas station. You can also have an onsite tank installed to make sure you never run out of gas.
Ricochet Fuel is your premier fuel distribution company located in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. We service Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Wisconsin. We specialize in servicing the construction and agriculture industries, auto dealerships, fleets, and power generation. For dyed diesel and bulk fuel needs, contact Ricochet Fuel today.
Learn about everything Ricochet Fuel has to offer from our Bulk Fuels and Fuel Services Brochure.