Yet another heads up for diesel motorists in the UK. We have just been called out to do a fuel drain for the owner of a diesel car who filled up with, wait for it…… diesel! Unfortunately for him it was cheap diesel that an acquaintance had recommended. It was dispensed at an “unofficial fuel depot” at a far lower cost than a regular forecourt. The car owner called us when his car started to run rough when warm, cut out when idling and occasionally emit plumes of black smoke from the exhaust. In this case the motorist was most fortunate that he called us out as it turned out his car had been filled with red or agricultural diesel and old, dodgy red diesel at that. Red diesel has exactly the same chemical composition as regular white diesel which you would fill up with on a regular fuel station forecourt, but it is subject to a much lower tax rate specifically to assist the agricultural and construction industries. The red colouration of this fuel is a dye used to identify it for special useage circumstances. Now, here’s the rub, if you get caught using red diesel in a regular diesel motor car you may be subject to a very heavy fine. The HMRC are actively carrying out random “dips” and are authorised to stop and test any vehicle that they feel may possibly be illegally using red diesel.
Our client was completely unaware of the risk and unaware that his car had been filled with red diesel. We drained the fuel tank for him and flushed his vehicle fuel system and, whilst his vehicle was completely unharmed, he did end up losing out on the £50 it cost him to get the tank filled. On the positive side, he won’t be at risk of getting fined thousands of pounds. Sometimes even the right fuel type can be the wrong fuel to use!
Please don’t get caught out.