Diesel drivers warned of fuel crime which could see them face huge fines and even prison

A vehicle using red diesel

Standard road vehicles are not allowed to use red diesel

WMP Traffic / X
Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 12/10/2023

- 12:06

Major law changes were introduced in 2022 to prevent certain industries from using red diesel

Motorists have been issued with an urgent warning to avoid using certain fuels or they could face serious consequences as police forces around the UK crack down on its use.

The West Midlands Police traffic team posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, that it had uncovered a number of vehicles with notable faults.

The Road Harm Prevention Team has been conducting random spot checks on vehicles near the NEC in Birmingham.

The commercial vehicle road safety operation found a number of vehicles prohibited by the DVSA for dangerous defects.

WATCH NOW: Nigel Farage on red diesel and fuel duty

Among them, four vehicles were seized for not having insurance, while one vehicle was found to be using red diesel, which is illegal.

On April 1, 2022, laws were changed to crack down on the number of people who were able to use red, or rebated, diesel.

Red diesel is the same as standard diesel but is dyed red to denote the lower level of taxation and fuel duty applied to the fuel.

Businesses that can no longer use the red diesel have been forced to switch to regular diesel, potentially costing them thousands of pounds a year.

The Government states that red diesel has an effective fuel duty rate of 11.14p, a reduction of more than 40p compared to standard diesel at 52.95p.

According to HMRC, any vehicle illegally using red diesel could be seized, with drivers potentially needing to pay the fuel duty evaded, going back up to four years.

A wrongdoing penalty could also be applied based on the extent of the illegal fuel use, as extreme cases could lead to someone getting up to seven years in prison.

The Rural Crime Team from Gloucestershire Constabulary have also targeted vehicles to ensure they are not breaking the law.

As part of Operation Silvanus, the force has been checking agricultural vehicles and vehicles carrying plant machinery.

This is being done to ensure they are legal, not stolen and not using red diesel, with testing equipment in the back of the mobile enforcement vans.

Following the rise in global oil prices, the cost for a litre of red diesel was also pushed up to above 80p per litre.

While this is still dramatically cheaper than the cost of standard diesel, many businesses struggle to deal with the fluctuating prices.

Currently, the average price of a litre of diesel costs 162.58p, with it being slightly cheaper at supermarkets (159.83p) and far more expensive at motorway service stations (183.32p).

RAC Fuel Watch is predicting that both petrol and diesel prices will fall, although some experts warn that costs will increase as a result of global tensions.


A diesel pump

Red diesel has a far lower fuel duty rate than standard diesel


The ongoing war in Ukraine, as well as the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas, could push oil prices towards $100 (£81.30) per barrel.

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