Can I Use Off-Road Diesel in My Truck?

You’ve probably heard of off-road diesel before, but you may not be sure what it is or if you can use it in your truck.

This type of diesel is dyed red so that it can be easily identified and is not subject to the same taxes as regular diesel.

If you’re wondering if can I use off-road diesel in my truck, it’s important to know the rules about using off-road diesel so that you don’t get penalized.

off road diesel in truck

Can I Use Off-Road Diesel in My Truck?

The quick answer is no, you cannot use off-road diesel in your truck. It is illegal to use off-road diesel in a truck or a car if you drive on public roads. Off-road is intended for use in agricultural and construction equipment that never leaves the property where it is being used.

What is Off-Road Diesel?

Off-road diesel (also known as red diesel) is a type of diesel fuel that has a lower tax rate than regular diesel fuel.

As of today, federal taxes on clear diesel include an excise tax of 24.3 cents per gallon and a Leaking Underground Storage Tank fee of 0.1 cents per gallon.

Since off-road diesel is tax-exempt, this means that it is significantly cheaper than regular diesel, making it very attractive to truckers who are looking to save money.

However, this fuel can only be used for vehicles that never travel on public roads – trucks that only operate on private property or construction sites, for example.

If you are caught using off-road diesel in a truck that travels on public roads, you could be subject to heavy fines.

How Do Police Check for Red Diesel?

The police have a few different ways of checking for red diesel. One way is with a handheld detector that can tell the difference between red and regular diesel.

Another way is to visually inspect the fuel tank of the vehicle in question. If the tank contains red diesel, it will have a dye added to it that makes it appear red.

Penalties for Using Off-Road Diesel Illegally

If you are caught using off-road diesel illegally, you could face a fine of up to $1,000.

You may also have your driver’s license suspended for up to three months. Additionally, your vehicle could be impounded for up to 30 days.

In states such as Alabama, Ohio, Texas, Florida, and Washington, you can be fined $100 per gallon or $1,000 per infraction (whichever is higher) if you’re found using red diesel.

However, it’s important to note that each state has its own laws regarding the use of off-road diesel, so it’s always best to check with your local authorities before using this type of fuel.

Types of Diesel Fuel and Colors

Acceptable Uses of Tax-Exempt Fuel on Public Roads

There are some circumstances under which you can use tax-exempt fuel on public roads.

Dyed diesel can usually be used when a state of emergency has been declared, or if the regular fuel supply has been disrupted due to natural causes. However, it’s best to check with your specific area’s guidelines before use.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will off-road diesel work in a diesel truck?

Off-road diesel will work in a diesel truck as long as the truck is not fitted with a particulate filter. If your truck is fitted with a particulate filter, then using red diesel could potentially damage the filter.

Is off-road diesel the same as regular diesel?

Yes, off-road diesel is almost similar to regular diesel but contains red dye. Off-road diesel also has a lower sulfur content, which makes it better for the environment. However, this also means that it’s less likely to lubricate your engine properly, which could lead to engine damage over time.

Can I run red diesel in my truck?

Yes, you can run red diesel in your truck as long as it’s for agricultural use or non-commercial purposes. If you’re caught running red diesel in your truck for commercial or personal purposes, you could face stiff penalties.

Is off-road diesel better for your engine?

Off-road diesel is similar to regular diesel so there’s not much difference in how it will affect your engine. The main difference is that off-road diesel has a lower sulfur content, which makes it better for the environment.

Can I use red diesel in my car?

No, you cannot use red diesel in your car. Red diesel is only for agricultural and construction vehicles that never leave the property where they are being used.


Off-road diesel might look like a great way to save money on fuel for your truck but it’s not a legal way.

If you’ve to use it, it’s important to make sure that you are using it in accordance with the law. If you’re caught using off-road diesel illegally, you could face hefty fines of up to $1,000.

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