There was a time when all diesel fuel sold in the North America was clear, without dye added to it. But times have changed.
Today, diesel fuel is sold in Canada in clear and red forms; understanding the difference among these fuels – and among the tax and legal implications of each – is critical if you intend to purchase diesel fuel.
Here are some basics about the three types of diesel fuel:
Clear fuel has low sulfur levels (500 mg/kg for low sulfur, 15 mg/kg for ultra low sulfur) and is legally taxable. Any vehicle that has a diesel engine and is licensed for on-road use must use this fuel.
Because it is not to be used for on-road vehicles, this fuel is not taxed within Canada.
Because dyed diesel is not taxed, federal and provincial laws strictly regulate its use; penalties for improper use of dyed fuel range from stiff financial penalties to significant jail time.
Distributors cannot knowingly transport dyed fuel with the intent to supply on-road vehicles, and fuel retail locations that carry dyed diesel cannot knowingly sell the gas for use in an on-road vehicle.
If you are a retail diesel customer, you cannot knowingly use dyed diesel in an on-road vehicle; if dye is found in an on-road vehicle, the penalties can be extremely high. Be smart!