Red Diesel

For most of 2018 the Belgium authorities decided to withdraw their objections to UK craft carrying red diesel in their tanks  (With certain restrictions). However, the UK lost their case with the EU for exemption & the upcoming Brexit departure will almost certainly mean that we need to have white diesel in our craft. If you want to go abroad at some time in the future then you are going to have to change over eventually, so you may as well do it now.

Some owners have queried to what extent pipes & filters retain red dye.

Regarding flushing these, we can be sure that our own HMRC inspectors are as critical as they are overseas.

So their requirements for flushing pipes & filters would probably suit the EU officials as well. I have found the official guidance from HMRC for vehicle owners for cleaning tanks. As a car engine is really not so far removed from a boat engine ( fuel supply wise) I would guess that the same guidelines would apply

Therefore I am posting them as a possible guide:-( I have deleted some lines as not relevant)

7. Road vehicles that have had contaminated fuel in their running tanks”

Road vehicles must be fuelled with duty-paid fuel and must not have any presence of rebated fuel anywhere in their vehicle fuel system.

The slightest trace of rebated fuel in a vehicle system can be detected when carrying out vehicle testing in the field. A positive reaction to statutory markers present in rebated fuel makes the fuel and vehicles liable to forfeiture and they can be seized.

When a vehicle has contained rebated fuel:

The owner/operator should be told to undertake the following operation to remove all traces of rebated fuel from the vehicles running tanks and fuel system:

  • the vehicle must be drained of all fuel in the tank
  • fill the tank and flush the fuel system with 5 litres (one gallon) of duty- paid road diesel
  • drain this added fuel from the fuel tank
  • change the vehicles fuel filters
  • fill the cleaned vehicle’s running tanks with duty-paid road diesel

Records should be retained to show this operation has been fully undertaken.

If the vehicle is again detected with rebated fuel in the running tanks, this will be treated as a separate contravention, and action will be separate and in addition to any previous action.

So drain the tank. wipe it clean, run a gallon of white through the fuel line should do it then drain that off as well & away you go!!

I then found a post from someone on a forum regarding how much red dye is regarded as “non detectable” I could not find the official document myself so it is up to you how much of this you are prepared to accept. But here is the post:-

I was reading the directive yesterday, together with all the supporting documentation. The standard laboratory test for the red diesel marker has a defined cut-off point of 0.12mg per litre of fuel – below that, it is regarded as unreliable. The marking rules specify a maximum level of 9mg per litre at the pump.

So, if you have a 100 litre tank, you should be safe with anything under 12mg of marker in it. That translates to a bit more than a litre of marked fuel at the maximum marking dosage. So, if you run your 100 litre tank down to about 10 litres, then part fill it with white and repeat three or four times before completely filling with white, you should be ok.

But as I say I could not verify this.

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Sam Longley