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Fuels and Oils – The What, Who and Why

As a UK leading fuels and lubricants supplier, we're better placed to answer all of your questions about the different products out there. Find out more below.

Crown Oil

A Short Guide to Our Range of Fuels and Oils

Are you wondering what the difference is between gas oil and red diesel fuel?

With so many different types of fuel available nowadays, it can be hard to know which is the correct choice for your vehicle or machinery. In this article, we explain what you can use each fuel type for, who uses what and why.

There are two main types of diesel called red diesel (or gas oil) and road diesel. They are virtually the same thing except that a coloured red dye gets added to the diesel for industrial purposes.

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What is red diesel/gas oil?

Red diesel, also known as gas oil, is a type of fuel oil distilled from petroleum and heavier than paraffin oil. It’s cheaper than normal road diesel as it’s a rebated fuel.

What is the difference between red diesel and regular white diesel?

Red diesel is similar to regular diesel with only one important difference – it contains a red dye to make it distinguishable from white diesel for authorities, such as the police or VOSA (Vehicle and Operator Services Agency) who may need to inspect it.

Red diesel has a rebated tax associated with it as you can only use it as a non-road user. You may hear it being called gas oil, tractor diesel, heating oil, generator fuel and digger fuel. Although the red dye can be removed from red diesel, this is not a legal process and could result in a hefty fine or even a prison sentence being given to you.  This is because it is subject to lower taxes than diesel/derv. You are only meant to use it in certain types of machinery or vehicles used in certain industries such as agriculture or construction.

There are some exceptions for using red diesel on the roads, although these are usually in rare, limited occurrences. If you absolutely need to use it in a vehicle on the public roads, you must get a license from the HMRC. However, this is only for exceptional circumstances. This is where it would unnecessarily cause an obstruction for someone to have to take the necessary steps to avoid using rebated heavy oil on the public road. If you are unsure about the law, you can find out more information from the HMRC website.

You might sometimes hear diesel or DERV being called taxed diesel, road diesel or a regular pump diesel. DERV is a liquid fuel product which you can use for transport and passenger vehicles. You can use it most commonly in cars and lorries which have diesel engines, for vehicles used on the roads and some other equipment.

As well as these products, there are other types of fuels to discover:

What is kerosene?

You can store kerosene in a blue or blue-labelled barrel so you don’t mix it up with other fuels. You can also keep it in a drum or container. You can use it to power both industrial, commercial engines, some machinery, and domestic heating systems. Some people know it as paraffin or heating oil. Like gas oil, Kerosene contains a chemical marker to distinguish it from other fuels.

Who uses these fuels?

If you use construction machinery or agricultural machinery, then you are more likely to need gas oil (red diesel). You can also use it in commercial equipment such as bulldozers, generators, tractors, cranes, bobcats and combine harvesters.

If you need to use fuel for lamps or lighting fuels, fire entertainment or even for jet engines, then you will more likely need to use Kerosene.

As well as red diesel/gas oil, white diesel/derv and kerosene, we have a range of additional fuels and lubricants at Crown Oil. From Carbon Offset Red Diesel to Crown CHP biofuel and AdBlue, to help reduce NOx emissions and comply with existing laws, there are plenty of fuels available to choose from.

Why use the right fuel?

It’s important to use the right fuel for your machinery or equipment to avoid causing unnecessary problems associated with the overall performance. Using the wrong type may lead to blocked filters, sludge build-up within the tanks or even water intrusion.

Want more advice?

Here at Crown Oil, we have the answers with over 70 years’ experience in the industry. We can advise you on your red diesel, diesel/DERV and heating oil requirements. Give our friendly, knowledgeable fuels specialists team a call on 0330 123 1444. They will be happy to assist you with your unique requirements and provide you with the best solutions.

If you want further information about gas oil, diesel/derv or kerosene, you can find the following fact sheets on our Downloads Page.

You can also learn more about the legal uses for rebated fuels on public roads via the Government website:
Can I use rebated heavy oils as fuel in a road vehicle?

From a technical perspective, sulphur is the main difference between Gas Oil (0.1%) and Diesel (0.001%).

Want to learn more about our full range of fuels and oils?

Beyond diesel/gas oil product range, we also stock and supply a range of fuels, oils and lubricants with delivery available throughout the UK, thanks to our network of oil depots strategically located throughout the UK.

We also offer a range of fuel related services including an emergency delivery service to get you refuelled quicker, we also provide a range of environmental services along with fuel polishing services and a fuel uplift service.

If you’d like to learn more or if you’re ready to discuss your requirements with our highly experienced and friendly team. You can do so by giving us a call today on 0330 123 1444.

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