In the UK it is possible to use a rebated fuel in agricultural tractors and non-road vehicles and engines. The fuel is commonly known as ‘red diesel’ as it contains a dye for easy identification by the authorities. The fuel may also be known as gas oil, marked rebated gas oil, cherry diesel, 35 second oil or tractor diesel.
Currently the duty on red diesel is 47 pence per litre less than road diesel.
This makes the fuel vastly cheaper than the road diesel and so vintage and classic tractor owners prefer to use this fuel where the law alows them to do so.
Storing red diesel
Gas oil must be stored seperately from road diesel with seperate delivery systems (i.e. pumps and hoses).
The storage tank or container and delivery pipe must bear an indelible notice making it clear that the diesel is not to be used for road fuel.
When can or cannot it be used?
The list of examples given by HMRC is very detailed, but we are only going to look at how this effects the vintage tractor enthusiast. One thing to be aware of is that HMRC do sometimes make changes to the list of approved uses.
Red diesel can only be used by ‘exempted vehicles’ on public roads, which are vehicles used in an agricultural, horticultural or forestry related activity.
Exempted vehicles include tractors designed primarily for use otherwise than on a public road.
Road runs and shows
Driving a vintage tractor out on a road run is not classified as an agricultural activity and therefore it is not permissible to use red diesel.
Red diesel can be used in a vehicle or engine which is not on a public road. However, driving a tractor to a tractor show or ploughing match for social or domestic pleasure is presumably not related to agriculture. If you know the definite answer to this one then please let us know!