Frequently Asked Questions about Red Diesel: Laws, Taxes, Usage, and More

There are strict rules and regulations that surround red diesel use. Read our FAQs for more information on the rebated fuel.

Get all the answers to your red diesel questions!

The rules and regulations regarding the use of red diesel have always been tightly controlled. However, as of 1 April 2022, there are new rules surrounding red diesel taxation, resulting in many industries losing access to rebated fuels.

To help you untangle the red tape, we’ve answered our most commonly asked questions below, covering red diesel usage rules, taxation changes and more.

Can’t find an answer to your questions about gas oil on this page or you’d like to contact our red diesel experts about supplying gas oil to your business? Get in touch today by calling us on 0330 128 9838 to discuss your requirements and request a quote based on the latest red diesel prices.

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Red diesel, also known as gas oil, is a type of fuel that is commonly used in off-road vehicles and machinery such as tractors, and agriculture use.

It is dyed red to distinguish it from regular diesel and is subject to different taxation and usage regulations.

The UK government changed the tax on red diesel from 1st April 2022 to comply with a ruling from the European Court of Justice, which found that the UK’s tax treatment of red diesel was not in line with EU law.

As a result, the UK was required to align the tax treatment of red diesel with that of regular diesel.

Compass Fuel Oils can only supply red diesel to the following sectors:

– Commercial boating industry, including fishing and inland water freight industries and passenger ferries.

– Non-commercial power generation, such as hospitals and off-the-grid households

– Agriculture, forestry, horticulture and fish farming

– Passenger, freight and maintenance vehicles that run on rail tracks

– Non-commercial heating, such as off-the-grid  homes, places of worship and town halls.

– Travelling funfairs and circuses 

– Amateur sports clubs, including gold courses.

The industries that are mentioned above are not allowed to use red diesel and must use white diesel.

The government has provided a full guide to help prepare for the change in tax – but our friendly experts are here to help you. 

Red diesel is not entirely exempt from tax. It is subject to a reduced rate of excise duty compared to regular diesel, in recognition of its specific uses in off-road vehicles and machinery. However, the tax treatment of red diesel varies by country and is subject to specific regulations and conditions.

Gas oil is taxed differently to regular road diesel, due to it being an off-road fuel. As such, according to HMRC list of fuel duties, you can expect to pay £0.114 per litre for marked gas oil (red diesel), including rebates. 

When purchasing gas oil, we will provide you with a form to inform us what you want to use the red diesel for. 

If the fuel is not used as road fuel, then it is classed as a tied oil. To request a repayment or apply a tax rebate for your fuel, HMRC must first approve it.

To request a repayment or apply tax rebate for your fuel you need to contact 

In the UK, red diesel is legal for use in off-road vehicles and machinery, but illegal for use in on-road vehicles. It’s important to check the laws and regulations regarding red diesel in your specific location to ensure compliance.

Any use of red diesel in a road vehicle on a public highway is illegal, as it is considered tax evasion. You can find more information on the gov.uk site.

There is no fixed or maximum fine for illegally using red diesel, so the cost will depend on the severity of the illegality displayed in the usage of the fuel.

For example, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) may simply issue you with a fine, but they could also charge you to remove the red diesel from your vehicles, charge you to clean out the fuel tanks and filters, and they could even charge you the missing price difference for the length of time you’ve been using red diesel. 

As of the 1st April 2022, the following categories can use red diesel:

– Travelling fairs and circuses

– Fuel used for non-commercial purposes – electricity generation and heating

– Agriculture, horticulture, fish farming and forestry

– Rail transport

– Community amateur sports club and gold courses

– Sailing, boating and marine transport (excluding private pleasure craft in Northern Ireland)

The following industries and applications have lost access to rebated fuels:

– Commercial generators

– Commercial heating

– Construction

– Haulage

– Leisure

– Logistics

– Manufacturing

– Mining and quarrying

– Ports

– Plant hire

– Road maintenance

– Waste management

Red diesel, also known as gas oil or tractor diesel, is a type of fuel that is commonly used in off-road vehicles and machinery such as tractors, agricultural vehicles, construction equipment, and stationary engines. It is not legal for use in on-road vehicles such as cars, trucks, or motorcycles.

In the UK, you do not need a license to buy red diesel, but you must declare its use and pay the appropriate taxes.

In the UK, farms must adhere to specific regulations for the storage of red diesel.

The fuel should be stored in approved, secure tanks with safety features such as bunding to prevent spills. Farms are required to have spill prevention and control measures in place, including regular inspections of storage tanks.

Environmental protection regulations must be followed, including obtaining permits and managing the risk of contamination. Farm operators are also required to keep records of red diesel storage, usage, and disposal, and may be subject to inspections by regulatory authorities to ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

No, using red diesel in on-road vehicles is not permitted and can result in fines or penalties.

However, there is an exception to the rule if you’re a farmer who needs to gain access to more than one bit of land which is divided by a public road; as long as you travel no further than 1.5km, you can drive on the public highway.

Other exemptions to the rule are farmers using their tractors for gritting in bad weather.

No, unfortunately, it’s illegal to have two different tanks which can connect to your engine and carry red diesel and white diesel or separate fuels.

The regulations regarding the use of red diesel in backup generators have changed as of April 2022, resulting in commercial generators losing access to rebated fuels. Red diesel is now restricted to specific uses, which include:

– Vehicles and machinery used in agriculture, horticulture, fish farming, and forestry, including additional activities such as cutting verges and hedges, snow clearance, and gritting roads.
– Propelling passenger, freight, or maintenance vehicles designed for rail track operation.
– Heating and electricity generation in non-commercial premises, such as homes, places of worship, hospitals, and town halls, as well as off-grid power generation and non-propulsion uses on permanently-moored houseboats.
– Supporting community amateur sports clubs and golf courses, including activities like ground maintenance, heating, and lighting of clubhouses and changing rooms.
– Fuel for all marine craft refueling and operating in the UK, excluding the propulsion of private pleasure craft in Northern Ireland.
– Powering machinery, including caravans, used by traveling fairs and circuses.

It all depends on the type and model of your furnace. Generally, if your boiler operates with conventional vertical fluid, you can use gas oil to heat your home.

Certainly, it is suitable for heating and generating electricity on a pleasure craft. However, as of November 1st, 2008, the regulations for using it for propulsion have been modified, and the fuel no longer qualifies for a reduced rate of duty.

Using red diesel for boats in line with British regulations

The price of red diesel changes every day due to a number of factors, including supply, demand, world events and politics. This means we can’t provide red diesel prices online. Your delivery location and required quantity also affect the cost of red diesel. The more fuel you order, the lower the price per litre.

Rebated fuel (red diesel) is cheaper than white diesel (DERV) because of a lower fuel tax required to pay on it.

Red diesel is widely available in the UK, but Compass Fuel Oils stands out for its reliable and reactive service.

With over 20 tankers and strategically located depots, we offer faster deliveries.

Our diesel comes straight from the refinery, ensuring top quality, and our bulk buying power means competitive prices.

Yes, red diesel can be both purchased and sorted in barrels. Also known as oil drums, they usually consist of a volume of 205 litres.

Next Day nationwide delivery of 205L drums  and tank deliveries of all grades of fuel, including EN590 White Diesel, A2 Gas Oil, HVO Renewable Diesel, C2 Kerosene, C1 Paraffin and AdBlue

We also stock a full range of environmental products to ensure you comply with all of the latest rules and regulations for fuel storage.

45 Gallon Drum of red diesel / gas oil

if you use small amount of red diesel or gas oil or don’t have an oil storage tank to store your fuels and oils, then buying barrels of red diesel could be a preferable option for you. 

Compass Fuel Oils supplies next day nationwide delivery of 205L drums red diesel.

Technically – Yes! Although the red dye can be removed from the fuel, doing so is an entirely illegal process. The intricacy of this process varies and using any method to remove the red dye is known as fuel laundering and can land you with a prison sentence.

Looking for a greener alternative? HVO is an advanced renewable diesel fuel approved for use by a wide range of equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Offering improved all-weather performance, cleaner-burning and a vastly increased storage life, the sustainable fuel reduces net CO2 emissions by up to 90%.

This fuel is referred to by several names such as gas oil, cherry juice, cherry red, agricultural diesel, 35 seconds, medium diesel, tractor diesel, marine diesel, and rebated kerosene. 

However, it is important to note that all these names refer to the same fuel and are governed by the same laws regarding their usage.

British Standard BS 2869 is the fuel specification that governs gas oil. 

Additionally, there are other grades within BS 2869 for kerosene that is used as home heating oil, and other specifications for heavier fuel oils. 

The fuel properties are seasonally adjusted to maintain good low-temperature operability.

It’s also worth noting that Gas Oil exceeds the latest requirements of relevant British Standard Specification BS 2869 Class A2.

FAQs About Red Diesel Duty Changes

From April 21st 2022 the rules around rebated red diesel duty and rebated biofuels have changed. We’ve created a red diesel duty changes explainer to navigate these new rules. We’ve also answered the most common questions our customer ask below:

Unfortunately not, you will need to purchase white diesel or a cleaner alternative such as white HVO.

The HMRC acknowledges that there might be a time-frame during which a red marker may be visible in the tank of a machine or vehicle.

If you have extra fuel in your tanks after March 31st 2022, you must take one of the following actions:

  • Sell or give it to someone authorized to use it.
  • Sell or give it to a registered Dealer in Controlled Oil (RDCO).
  • Dispose of it through a waste oil or recycling company.

Please ensure that you keep records of any sales or disposal.

No, HMRC acknowledges that there might be a period during which a red marker may be present in the tank of a machine or vehicle.

It is important to maintain precise documentation of all fuel purchases to show that there has been no stockpiling and that the transition to non-rebated fuels has commenced.

HMRC will adopt a practical stance to all cases. If you can provide invoices or receipts demonstrating that you have transitioned to fully taxed fuel, they will be more considerate of companies and individuals who persist in using red diesel unlawfully.

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To learn more about our bulk gas oil / red diesel delivery service, call our fuel experts today on 0330 128 9838 to request a quote.

Who can still use Gas Oil and other rebated fuel after the 31st March 2022?

• “For vehicles and machinery used in agriculture, horticulture, fish farming and forestry.
This includes allowing vehicles used for agriculture to be used for cutting verges and hedges, snow clearance and gritting roads
• To propel passenger, freight or maintenance vehicles designed to run on rail tracks.
• For heating and electricity generation in non-commercial premises – this includes the heating of homes and buildings such as places of worship, hospitals and town halls; off-grid power generation; and non-propulsion uses on permanently-moored houseboats
• For maintaining community amateur sports clubs as well as golf courses (including activities such as ground maintenance, and the heating and lighting of clubhouses, changing rooms etc.)
• As fuel for all marine craft refuelling and operating in the UK (including fishing and water freight industries), except for propelling private pleasure craft in Northern Ireland
• For powering the machinery (including caravans) of travelling fairs and circuses”. Even then, there are particular rules on how red diesel can be used in these approved areas.
For more info please refer to Government guidance via the link below.
These rules will also extend fuel duty to “biodiesel, bioblends and fuel substitutes used in heating, applying the rebated duty rate to non-commercial heating and the full rate of duty to commercial heating.” (Source: gov.uk)

Compass Fuel Oils Ltd
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Alison DickinsonAlison Dickinson
14:15 14 Dec 23
Absolutely amazing company to buy from, customer service is impeccable can't beat them for price. Staff super friendly and helpful.
Nicholas WhittleNicholas Whittle
10:41 14 Dec 23
I have been a loyal customer of Compass Fuels for the past five years, and they are an incredibly friendly and customer-focused company. Olly and his brother, who are usually responsible for delivering the oil, are a pleasure to deal with. They are always friendly, and I enjoy chatting with them whenever they come to deliver the oil. Compass Fuels is a genuine company with an excellent people culture, and they deserve all the success they have achieved. I highly recommend this company to anyone looking for a reliable and trustworthy fuel supplier.
Natalie MclaughlinNatalie Mclaughlin
21:48 13 Dec 23
Excellent service from olly. Thank you.
philip brookphilip brook
09:12 12 Dec 23
Excellent delivery , had a txt the night before and Olly was helpful and friendly
Paul Howe (Adboards)Paul Howe (Adboards)
14:21 04 Dec 23
Great service by Olly
William WhitlaWilliam Whitla
17:19 28 Nov 23
Jimmy was a star, great help
sam poultonsam poulton
16:51 28 Nov 23
Amazing service provided today by Jimmy. Would 100% recommend and use again.
Philip DohertyPhilip Doherty
10:14 28 Nov 23
Quality service from Jim, he's the man to call especially when you are in a bind.
Gary NobleGary Noble
10:13 28 Nov 23
Great service, big thanks to jimmy was extremely helpful
Stuart KerrStuart Kerr
13:54 17 Oct 23
The new boiler ran out of fuel in the middle of the night and this caused several issue's as you can imagine. A quick panicked phone call first thing and the reply was perfect, "don't worry, we'll get some out to you". Less than 1 hour later he was onsite with fuel. excellent service and really helped us out, can't thank them enough.
Personalised PopPersonalised Pop
10:52 12 Oct 23
Best out there!! I’ve run out a few times and they never let me down. I now have a sensor and so they’ll auto deliver. Brilliant team!
anthony rimmeranthony rimmer
04:36 12 Oct 23
Hats off to Nick and the team for tremendous customer service and ensuring immediate refuelling when required. To be fair they never fail to deliver......... right across the board.
Josh briggsJosh briggs
08:59 29 Sep 23
Very nice staff, great service, couldn’t fault the company at all !
Sarah withingtonSarah withington
20:53 11 Jan 23
Ordered via boilerjuice on standard 2 week delivery received a text message 24 hours before oil was delivered to prep for delivery, delivered only 3 days after Order fantastic! I live in very rural location driver telephoned for directions was polite and friendly, filled tank super quick and left. No issues at all would definitely recommend
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