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On-Road Vs Off-Road Diesel- Differences You Must Know

Off-road diesel used to contain more sulfur, which resulted in a smokier burn. These two fuels are chemically identical except for coloration. This was after Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) changes to fuel specifications were gradually implemented in 2008.

Diesel fuels for use on and off roads are chemically identical. The neighborhood gas station sells clear diesel, also referred to as on-road diesel. Off-road diesel is colored red and distributed in quantity. The significant differences are in the color, cost, and intended use.

This article promises to show you more differences between On-road and Off-road diesel. Continue reading.

On-Road Vs Off-Road Diesel- Key Differences:

First, check out the comprehensive table below to see more differences.

On-Road Diesel

Off-Road Diesel

ROAD LEGAL

As the name implies, on-road diesel is acceptable for automobiles on public roads. This is the type of diesel that gas stations would typically distribute.

Any vehicle that isn't being driven on the road, like tractors, construction machinery, and generators, should use off-road diesel. Put simply; it is illegal to use off-road diesel in a car that travels on public roads. Doing so could result in hefty fines.

DYE

Because it is transparent, on-road diesel is frequently called "clear diesel."

In contrast, off-road diesel is referred to as "dyed diesel" or "red diesel" since it is typically tinted that color.

TAXES

Diesel for on-road use is subject to excise tax.

Off-road diesel is less expensive than on-road diesel. This is because it isn't utilized in vehicles driven on roads and, therefore, not taxed.

SULFUR CONTENT

15 parts per million(PPM)

Previously 500PPM, The EPA reduced the sulfur content of off-road diesel to 15 PPM

PRICE

It has no definite price, but it’s more expensive than off-road diesel.

Off-road diesel is less expensive than on-road diesel since it is not taxed. Additionally, off-road diesel, often known as an alternative fuel, can cost as little as $0.25 less per gallon.

EMERGENCY USE

Can be used anytime.

Can be used during emergencies. emergencies like hurricanes, storms, and other natural disasters that result in a lack of gasoline.

PERFORMANCE

They both operate equally well

They both operate equally well

On-Road And Off-Road Diesel- Road Legal?

As the name implies, on-road diesel is acceptable for automobiles on public roads. This is the type of diesel that gas stations would typically distribute. To operate legally on American roadways, all vehicles must utilize on-road diesel.

However, any vehicle that isn’t being driven on the road, like tractors, construction machinery, and generators, should use off-road diesel.

Put simply; it is illegal to use off-road diesel in a car that travels on public roads. Doing so could result in hefty fines.

Also, the fuel is reddened for this reason. So you, as well as law enforcement authorities, can easily see the color red.

Additionally, various methods, such as using a fluorescent UV light, find the dye even in minute concentrations. However, if you are caught using it a few times when you shouldn’t land you in trouble.

Dye:

Because it is transparent, on-road diesel is frequently called "clean diesel." In contrast, off-road diesel is referred to as "dyed diesel" or "red diesel" since it is typically tinted that color.

Additionally, the dye is intended to prevent individuals from confusing different types of diesel. It also makes it possible to quickly test and identify the type of diesel used in a vehicle.

Taxes on On-Road And Off-Road Diesel:

Off-road diesel is less expensive than on-road diesel. This is because it isn’t utilized in vehicles driven on roads and, therefore, not taxed. On the other hand, diesel for on-road use is subject to excise tax.

Furthermore, although the two forms of diesel operate equally well, off-road diesel is more affordable for companies that utilize off-road vehicles. Off-road vehicles can use on-road diesel, but doing so would require paying unnecessary state and federal taxes on the fuel.

Sulfur Content in On-Road And Off-Road Diesel:

On-Road Vs Off-Road Diesel

The EPA permitted off-road diesel fuel’s sulfur concentration to decline gradually. All off-road diesel had a sulfur concentration of 500 PPM (Parts Per Million) or higher before 2006.

Furthermore, off-road diesel had to be modified. This resulted from the requirement for ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) for vehicles used on public roads.

Additionally, refineries and the entire industry required 8 years to accept the new standard. This reduced the sulfur content of off-road diesel to 15 PPM. Sulfur dioxide and sulfur trioxide gas output decreased significantly as a result.

However, refineries with extensive inventories of off-road diesel sulfur content of 500 PPM saw considerable difficulties. All of them were required by law to reduce the amount of sulfur in the fuel.

As was already established, the red coloring of off-road diesel keeps users from inadvertently utilizing it in the incorrect engine. In addition, the two types of diesel differ chemically due to off-road diesel’s increased sulfur concentration.

Price of On-Road And Off-Road Diesel:

Off-road diesel is less expensive than on-road diesel since it is not taxed.

Additionally, off-road diesel, often known as an alternative fuel, can cost as little as $0.25 less per gallon. That can matter, particularly if gas prices are rising.

Furthermore, a gallon of off-road fuel may cost as little as 25 cents. As a result, high-use industries like construction and agriculture may experience significant cost savings. Off-road diesel misuse, however, is punishable by fines of up to $10,000.

You should be aware that there are many requirements before you become overly thrilled about these prices. Additionally, it is prohibited to use off-road petroleum in a car or truck that is driven on a state highway.

Performance:

Although the two forms of diesel operate equally well, off-road diesel is more affordable for companies that utilize off-road vehicles.

Off-road vehicles can use on-road diesel, but doing so would require paying unnecessary state and federal taxes on the fuel.

Emergency Use:

There are circumstances in which using dyed diesel in your everyday automobiles is both permissible and lawful.

For example, that applies during emergencies like hurricanes, storms, and other natural disasters that result in a lack of gasoline. If so, colored diesel may be your only option.

What Fuel is Good for Your Vehicle?

It is simple to choose the right diesel oil for your business vehicle or truck. You may only use clear taxable diesel that the government has approved.

However, to further understand your alternatives based on your unique needs, we advise meeting with a fuel specialist. This is important for farm owners or construction enterprises using tractors and generators.

In the end, on-road diesel and off-road diesel are the same things. The mandatory criteria are ultra-low sulfur Diesel (ULSD) with no more than 15 ppm Sulfur. For both new on-road vehicles and new off-road equipment.

Pros and Cons of Using Diesel:

Are you currently looking for a new automobile and thinking of getting a diesel model? If so, fantastic! Many individuals are unaware of the numerous benefits diesels have over standard gasoline-powered automobiles.

To find out more about these benefits as well as potential drawbacks, Check out the table below:

Pros

Cons

Diesel engines have an excellent mileage. They typically offer 25 to 30 percent better fuel efficiency than gasoline engines with comparable performance.  

Diesel fuel used to be more affordable than gasoline, but these days it frequently costs the same or even more.  

Diesel fuel is one of the most efficient and energy dense fuels available today. Because it contains more usable energy than gasoline, it delivers better fuel economy.      

Diesel fuel doesn't produce dramatic high-speed performance. But it is said to be more efficient since it transforms heat into energy rather than emitting it out the tailpipe like gas-powered vehicles do.  

Diesel engines lack distributors and spark plugs. They never require ignition tune-ups as a result.  

Diesel engines still require routine maintenance to stay operational. The oil, air, oil, and fuel filters need to be changed.  

Due to the demands of increased compression, diesel engines are designed to tolerate them. As a result, they often survive a lot longer than gas-powered cars before needing significant maintenance.

Because diesel engines are more technologically complex than gasoline engines. If you neglect the maintenance and the fuel injection system malfunctions, you might have to pay a diesel mechanic.

How Many Gallons of Gasoline and Diesel Fuel are Made from one oil barrel?

One 42-gallon barrel of crude Oil is converted into approximately 19 to 20 gallons of motor gasoline. It is also converted to 11 to 12 gallons of ultra-low sulfur distillate fuel oil by American petroleum refineries. The majority is sold as diesel fuel and in some states as heating oil.

Additionally, from crude Oil, a variety of other petroleum products are refined. Refiners focus operations on fulfilling the demand for various products. They do this as they strive to maximize profitability; refinery yields of certain products vary monthly.

Why are Diesel Fuel Prices Higher Than Gasoline Prices?

On a dollar per gallon basis, the price of on-highway diesel fuel has been higher than that of regular-grade gasoline. It has been like that almost nonstop since September 2004.

Additionally, the historical pattern of diesel fuel prices is typically lower than gasoline prices. Except for freezing winters when demand for heating oil drove diesel fuel prices higher.

Diesel fuel costs have risen more recently than regular gasoline costs for three main reasons:

1. Particularly in Europe, China, India, and the United States, demand for diesel fuel has been relatively high.

2. In the United States, diesel fuel production and distribution costs were impacted by the switch to cleaner, lower-sulfur diesel fuels.

3. With a federal excise tax of 24.3 cents per gallon, on-highway diesel fuel is 6 cents per gallon more expensive than gasoline.

The table below gives a summary of the things we’ve learned in this article:

On-Road Diesel

Off-Road Diesel

Used in Vehicles that travel in public roads

Used by vehicles travelling off-road

Road maintenance tax

Not subject to road taxes

Yellowish-clear in color

Reddish in color

Also Read:

Off-Road Diesel 101- All You Want To Know

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

How long is the shelf life of off-road diesel?

The diesel can persist for two to three years if biocide is added. However, when the fuel is sampled after two to three years, it loses its brightness. So you should check to see if it’s still good before putting it in your cars.

Can you combine diesel for on-road and off-road use?

The two forms of diesel fuel can be mixed without any complications, even though red diesel often contains more sulfur than clear.

Can off-road diesel be used as heating oil?

Heating oil can be successfully replaced with off-road diesel. Diesel and heating oil may both be used in the same systems. In addition, they will generally provide the same heat because they are both mid-weight petroleum distillations.

What happens if red diesel is discovered?

If you are discovered using red diesel illegally, the authorities may seize your car.

Also, you will be required to pay the price for the car’s release. Serious offenses could result in a two-year prison sentence and an unlimited fine for the operator.

How is red diesel cleaned?

Solvent Red 19, 24, or 26 is a diazo dye that is used to color diesel in the UK. Fraudsters can eliminate the color by dissolving the dye in an acid or alkali to make it colorless. Or by removing the dye from the diesel using activated carbon.

Will off-road diesel harm my truck?

So, will your truck be harmed by off-road diesel? No, your truck won’t be harmed by off-road diesel.

However, as it isn’t supposed to be offered for use in on-road vehicles, using it is prohibited. Furthermore, if the authorities find out you’ve been using it, you’ll be hit with a large fine.

How much time does diesel burn?

The majority of diesel fuel is made to only last for 28 days when used alone. Due to the increased demand for low-sulfur diesel, the majority of commercially accessible fuel is now more susceptible to contamination. These diesel are less able to withstand bacterial growth.