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At Ricochet Fuel, we get dozens of questions about dyed diesel, and we’ve written several posts about this off-road fuel. We thought it would be helpful to answer some of the most recent questions.


1.   Is Dyed Diesel Bad For Your Truck?

No, this diesel is fine for your truck. The main difference isn’t in the ingredients; it’s in color. The red dye indicates it’s for off-road use only. It’s dyed red so that government officials can tell if you’re using it illegally. Be aware, if you’re driving on US highways and get caught, you could get a citation and an expensive fine.

2.   Does Red Diesel Ruin Your Car?

If your car uses diesel, it will run on off-road diesel. But as mentioned above, if you’re using it illegally and get caught, you’ll get fined from both state and federal governments. In cases of natural disasters, sometimes that’s the only fuel available, so you probably won’t get fined.

3.   Can You Mix Red Diesel and Normal Diesel

Yes, technically, you can since the main difference is the dye. We’ve heard of instances where someone purchased a truck that used off-road diesel, and the new owner used standard diesel. In that case, the new owner just started using standard diesel, and their vehicle ran fine.

4.   What’s The Difference Between Dyed Diesel and Clear Diesel

The main differences are the identifying red dye, and there may also be a difference in the sulfur levels. Plus, since this farm fuel is designed for heavy equipment – it heats up fast.

5.   How Do You Get the Dye Out of Red Diesel?

The easiest way to get rid of the red dye is to drive until the tank is really low. Then add a few gallons of or regular diesel and run that out. Do this several times. You can also have your mechanic flush the fuel system to make sure it’s gone.

6.   Can Red Diesel Damage Your Engine?

No, it can’t. It’s the same as on-road diesel except for the dye. If you have a diesel engine, it can run on farm fuel. Just make sure you’re using it lawfully.

7.   Is Dyed Diesel Fuel Taxable?

Some people think it’s “tax-free,” but there can still be some tax depending on the state. Here’s a list of the states and their fuel tax exemption information. When you’re approved to use this type of fuel off-road, you’re either charged less at the time of purchase or receive a rebate on fuel tax.

8.   What Happens if I Get Caught with Red Diesel?

If you’re caught and prosecuted, you could be charged with “Motor Fuel Tax Evasion”. It’s really not worth saving money on fuel, is it? Here’s what the IRS says:

“What are the Penalties? Generally speaking, no dyed fuel may be used in highway vehicles. For each violation, the Internal Revenue Code specifies a penalty of $1,000 or $10 per gallon, whichever is greater, plus payment of the tax. States may impose additional fines”,

“Publication 4941.” IRS.Gov, Feb. 2012, www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p4941.pdf.

9.   What Happens When You Mix Red and Green Diesel

There are no issues with mixing the two types of diesel fuels, although red usually has a higher sulfur content than green. Also – it’s called green fuel because it’s eco-friendly. It’s actually either light green or clear in color.

10.   How Long Does Red Diesel Stay In Your Tank?

That can vary. If you’re wondering, sometimes the fastest way to check is to dip a tube in your tank and pull out a sample and see what color it is; there are also manual dipstick kits and black lights. But the gas doesn’t just stay in your tank – it goes through your fuel system. So if you’re concerned, take it to your mechanic so they can flush the system.

Contact the Fuel Experts at Ricochet Fuel Distributors, Inc. if you have any further questions regarding dyed diesel or if you would like a no-obligation quote for dyed diesel delivered, an on-site tank, or fuel cards for dyed diesel at the pump.

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