White Diesel vs. Red Diesel: What Are the Differences?

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Diesel driving ban

When you hear “diesel,” the first thing that comes to mind is vehicular fuel. While this isn’t wrong, you can use diesel for any machinery with a diesel engine.

Diesel offers a range of safety, efficiency, and performance features. Further, it offers better energy density than other fuel types.

If you often use diesel, you may have heard the terms white diesel or red diesel. But what sets them apart? Read on to learn more about diesel and the differences between white diesel and red diesel.

What Is Diesel?

Rudolf Diesel is a German engineer who invented the compression ignition engine named after him. It uses compression ignition to turn diesel energy into mechanical energy.

Diesel engines require distillate fuel oil, also known as diesel fuel. It contains crude oil and biomass materials, which produce more energy. As a result, many industries use diesel engines and diesel fuel to operate.

Many transport vehicles use diesel to transport products. It powers most farming and construction machinery in the United States.

Even the US military uses diesel fuel on their tanks and trucks because it is less flammable and explosive. In addition, it stalls less compared to gasoline-fueled engines.

Although it offers more torque and fuel efficiency, diesel fuel is harmful. Its high amount of sulfur causes it to produce polluted emissions. Because of this, the Environmental Protection Agency demanded to reduce diesel sulfur content in 2006.

Today, you have regular or white diesel and dyed or red diesel to use in diesel engines.

Differences Between White Diesel and Red Diesel

Although they use the same materials, white diesel, and red diesel have a few key differences. These range from sulfur content to laws regulating their usage. Here are the differences you need to know about white and red diesel.

1. Amount of Sulfur Content

As mentioned prior, diesel fuel carries a high amount of sulfur. When released into the air, it mixes with oxygen and turns into sulfur dioxide.

Sulfur dioxide harms plants by decreasing their growth and damaging their foliage. It contributes to acid rain resulting in acidified waterways and causing deforestation. In addition, people exposed to sulfur dioxide pose a risk of respiratory issues.

Some symptoms include shortness of breath, chest tightness, and wheezing. If left alone, it can fall into bronchial inflammation or other health issues.

The EPA imposed strict requirements to reduce the sulfur content in diesel fuel. The new regulations phased in starting with selling on-road diesel fuel. After some time, manufacturers were able to release non-road diesel fuels to the market.

On-road or white diesel uses ultra-low sulfur diesel, carrying 15 parts per million. On the other hand, red diesel uses low-sulfur diesel (LSD) at 500 parts per million and ULSD. This is often used for non-road, locomotive, and marine diesel fuel.

2. Color

One of the most prominent differences between a white diesel and a red diesel is their color. Diesel fuel comes out clear or white during production.

Fuel manufacturers then dye the diesel fuel with high sulfur content in red. It allows officials to determine if people use red diesel instead of white diesel for their cars.

White diesel is regular fuel used for vehicles. On the flip side, red diesel is the same as machinery diesel.

If the authorities catch you using machinery diesel instead of regular diesel, you can get fined. In some cases, the punishment is serving time in jail. To avoid legal issues, use the correct diesel on the right material.

3. Use

So, when can you use the different types of diesel? People use diesel fuels in many ways. You can use it to run your car, operate machines, and generate electricity.

However, you cannot use white diesel and red diesel in all these situations.
When you drive a diesel-engine car, you can only use regular diesel. Although it shares the same materials, the law forbids using red diesel on vehicles.

Likewise, you must only use machinery diesel to operate machines and equipment. Compared to a petrol engine, a diesel engine offers more torque because of its compression resistance. Click here to find red diesel near me for big machinery.

You can use red diesel for non-commercial purposes, such as electricity generation. Diesel burns less fuel, allowing a diesel generator to produce more power. You can save money by using this type of engine.

4. Cost

Between white diesel and red diesel, the latter is more affordable.
The federal government collects taxes on motor fuel. They get 24.3 cents for diesel and 18.3 cents for gasoline. The tax revenue goes to the maintenance and improvement of mass transportation.

Although beneficial, the extra cost burdens businesses in the agricultural and construction industry. To lift the burden, the government removed the tax imposed on red diesel by removing its fuel duty rate. Today, only regular diesel is subject to motor fuel excise tax.

5. Regulation

Considering the tax laws on diesel fuel, it’s no wonder there are regulations following their use. However, the rules dedicated to white diesel and red diesel are different.

Unlike machinery diesel, regular diesel is more expensive because of taxes. Federal regulations on regular diesel is a little lighter because it’s taxable. In addition, it uses less amount of sulfur compared to red diesel.

On the other hand, there are stricter regulations surrounding red diesel. This is due to its non-taxable condition and high amount of sulfur. If the authorities catch you using machinery diesel beyond its purpose, you can get fined or put behind bars.

In addition, you cannot buy red diesel from anyone. You can only get it from registered distributors. Moreover, they can only sell this to you in bulk if you have permission to buy it.

What Diesel to Use: White Diesel or Red Diesel?

Apart from giving more energy, diesel offers efficiency, safety, and performance. Though similar, white diesel and red diesel have a few key differences. You can differentiate them based on the sulfur-content amount, color, use, cost, and regulation.

Are you looking for other informative blog posts? Check out our other guides for more.

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