Rebated Fuel – The Law Surrounding Red Diesel

White diesel is notorious for its increasing price. However, there is a far cheaper substitute that can be used by those in the farming, gardening or local authority sectors; rebated fuel.

Lawn machinery, utility automobiles and tractors are just some examples of vehicles that are permitted to use rebated fuel. However, unlawful usage of the fuel can result in fines and possibly your vehicle being seized.

In 2008, the DVLA and HMRC issued a memo to the forestry, horticulture and farming industries describing the forbidden and permitted usage of red diesel. This was after a list of vehicles that were permitted to use red diesel was issued in 2006. However, this caused major confusion over its vague description of the tractors that qualified as exempt vehicles.

What is red diesel?

It is the exact same as regular ‘white’ diesel except it is minimally taxed meaning it’s cheaper for the end user and it is dyed red. It is sometimes referred to as rebated fuel. It is dyed red so that officers can detect illegal use immediately.

Tractors weren’t allowed to use red diesel until 1979. The first law regarding the usage of red diesel was introduced in 1935.

Unlawful usage of red diesel can still be detected even if the dye has been removed. An invisible chemical is added to red diesel so examinations on the fuel can reveal whether the dye has been removed or not.

Who Can and Cannot Use It?

Any vehicle that is required to carry a tax disc cannot use red diesel. Whereas those that don’t can generally use red diesel, providing they won’t be driving on a public road.

Tractors, mowing equipment and unlicensed vehicles are the three types of vehicles that are legally allowed to use red diesel.