What Is The Difference Between Clear And Dyed Diesel?

red diesel fuel distributors

Choosing the right diesel for your vehicle can be confusing. Diesel can have different cetane ratings but also different colors. The United States government requires diesel to be sold in one of three ways: clear, red-, or blue-dyed. Before purchasing, it’s important to understand the differences to ensure you are making the right choice for your vehicle and your wallet.

What Is the Difference Between Clear, Red, and Blue-Dyed Diesel?

There are legal and tax implications for each of the three different types of diesel fuel. Clear diesel is the most common, and it’s what you will find at gas stations across the country. Clear diesel has less sulfur and is legally taxable. If you plan on using an on-road vehicle such as a car, truck, or SUV, you need to use clear diesel. 

Red diesel is colored with Solvent Red 26 or 164. This chemical additive is used for off-road vehicles. The red-dyed diesel contains a higher sulfur content and is not taxable because it’s only used for off-road vehicles. Vehicles that would use red diesel are farm tractors, heavy construction vehicles, and generators.

Blue-dyed diesel is the same as red diesel, with one major difference. Only vehicles used by the U.S. government are allowed to use blue-dyed diesel.

What Are the Regulations for Dyed and Clear Diesel?

red Diesel fuel

The U.S. government heavily regulates the use of clear and dyed diesel because dyed diesel is not taxed and contains a higher sulfur content. Gas stations cannot knowingly sell dyed diesel to an on-road vehicle. Fuel distributors are also not allowed to transport dyed fuel for the intent of re-sale to on-road vehicles. Anyone who breaks these rules can face hefty penalties and even jail time. 

Reeder Distributors, Inc. offers top-quality dyed diesel for your off-road vehicles. Not only is our dyed diesel fuel cost-effective, but it’s also taxable. We will also work with you to make sure you have the right paperwork to meet U.S. fuel regulations. 

Can You Mix Clear and Dyed Diesel?

Technically, you can mix clear and dyed diesel in your vehicle without causing major issues. The main differences between clear and dyed diesel are the sulfur level and the color. Both have little impact on how the fuel functions, but sulfur may cause the metal in your engine to erode. If you need to flush your engine of red diesel, fill it with clear diesel several times or ask a mechanic to flush it out. 

How To Know if Your Fuel Is Legal

When purchasing fuel, you need to know if what you are purchasing is legal. There are a few precautions you can take when choosing your diesel to make sure you are meeting regulations. You need to work with a reputable supplier who will make sure you are receiving the right diesel. When filling up your on-road vehicle, read the labels carefully so that you don’t fill your car with dyed diesel. Lastly, if you have an off-road vehicle and are ordering from a supplier, check your invoices. 

Simply put, the difference between clear and dyed diesel comes down to each fuel’s color and sulfur levels. The intended usage of diesel is the most important factor when choosing what to put in your vehicle. Be aware of what you are using and take advantage of tax-saving diesel when allowed.


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