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Comparing On- and Off-road Diesel Fuel

The Difference Is Subtle—But Important!

diesel fuel Lamoille, vt If you operate a commercial fleet of large trucks, you likely know they have engines that run on diesel fuel because it offers more power compared to the speed that comes with a gasoline engine. But you may wonder about the difference between off-road and on-road diesel.

From a chemical perspective, both fuels are identical except for one thing: On-road diesel is clear, while off-road diesel is dyed a red color. That’s because off-road diesel is only for use in farm vehicles, construction equipment and vehicles that do not operate on public roads. Fuel for those types of vehicles is not taxed, so the cost is lower. The red dye identifies it as untaxed fuel—and the fines are hefty if you get caught using it on an on-road vehicle.

Not sure what type of fuel is right for your fleet, or which of your vehicles might qualify for off-road fuel? Check out our diesel fuel FAQ:

Where are you driving your diesel vehicles? If you’re fleet is operating on public roads, such as highways or public streets, you’ll need to fill them up with on-road diesel. Off-road diesel is only for use on private property, such as on a construction site or a farm. Keep in mind that Federal rules for on- and off-road vehicles apply everywhere, specific uses may be permitted in different states.

What type of vehicle is it? Trucks, cars, buses and other diesel-engine vehicles that travel on roads, streets and highways take on-road diesel fuel. Vehicles and other equipment such as generators, tractors, forklifts and construction vehicles can use off-road fuel.

Where do you get your fuel? You can only get on-road fuel at a gas station, but you can get bulk delivery of on- or -off road diesel to your location or work site.

Can you use on- and off-road fuels interchangeably? Technically, yes. Other than the dye, the two types of fuel are the same. (In the past, off-road diesel produced more emissions, but since 2014, emissions standards, sulfur content, and fuel quality are the same for both on-road and off-road diesel.) However, while you can use on-road diesel in off-road vehicles, it’s illegal to use off-road diesel in on-road vehicles because the two fuels are taxed differently.

Is performance the same? Yes. There’s zero difference in the performance of vehicles using on-road versus off-road fuel. The big difference is in the price, because of the tax on on-road fuel.

Need Commercial Fleet Fueling?

No matter what type of vehicles and fuels you use for your business, Corse has you covered. We’ve got decades of experience supporting commercial customers in northern Vermont with reliable diesel fuel service, and more. We provide on- and off-road diesel fuel, with bulk deliveries as well as on-site fueling stations to save you time and money.

Our experts can assess your needs and help you plan, schedule and manage your fuel deliveries. We’ll also help you track your fuel usage to reduce waste, and improve efficiency. And we can work with you to plan a fueling station at your business or job site.

We’re always here to take your call. Contact us today to find out how we can make doing business easier for you.