5 December 1997

Law stops red diesel misuse

FROM Jan 1 next year it will be illegal for vehicles to carry red diesel in disconnected additional tanks, reports HM Customs and Excise. To date Customs has not taken any action where rebated fuel is detected in disconnected tanks – in circumstances where such fuel was said to be for use outside the UK.

Customs now deems that such tanks are part of the vehicles fuel system and, as such, should only contain fully duty-paid Derv.

The change of policy follows the belief that there has been widespread misuse – the fitting of specialist switching equipment to enable red diesel to be transferred to the engine.

Customs points out that the sophistication of such equipment can prevent detection of misuse with the engine and fuel filters appearing clear of any red dye after some Derv has been used.

It is perhaps worth recalling that any arguments for carrying rebated fuel in disconnected tanks for use outside the UK has now lost weight following the introduction of the Single Market in 1993.

&#8226 Derv currently bears a duty rate of 40.28p/litre while the duty on red diesel is 2.58p/litre.n