A guide to gas oil – what is it and how to find the best supplier.

Important Notice: gas oil tax legislation will be changing from 1st April 2022. Certas Energy will keep this guide up to date, in line with the revised government legislation as details are communicated from HMRC. Please see latest Certas Energy statement for a summary so far of the gas oil tax legislation changes and how it may affect your business –  please click here.

What is gas oil?

Gas oil is a diesel fuel used for heating and back-up power generation, as well as off-road applications in a variety of industries; including construction, agriculture and marine. Gas oil is currently subject to a lower fuel duty to road diesel (DERV), and is used by industries to power off-road plant machinery and vehicles as well as heating applications. 

Gas oil is also commonly known as red diesel, owing to the red dye that is added. It is sometimes also referred to as cherry juice, tractor diesel and 35 second oil. Like many forms of fuel, gas oil is derived from crude oil that has been extracted from the ground. Its properties are broadly similar to road diesel, with the red dye distinguishing it from clear coloured road diesel. The use of gas oil in road vehicles is strictly prohibited by HMRC, with considerable fines for non-compliant usage.

Gas oil for your business

Gas oil is a ‘rebated fuel’, meaning it has a lower fuel duty than regular road diesel. Example of industries that can legally use gas oil include:

  • Construction – to power equipment such as cranes, bulldozers and generators
  • Agriculture – in the use of vehicles or machinery, such tractors or ride on lawn mowers
  • Fairs and Carnivals – for generators used in rides and lighting
  • Heating – to fuel industrial heating systems
  • Data centres and hospitals – to fuel back-up/stand-by generators as an emergency power supply
  • Smelting – to power furnaces

Gas oil regulations

As gas oil is a rebated fuel; businesses can save on fuel duty when using it. However, regulations clearly stipulate that gas oil is only to be used for specific purposes and industries. Gas oil must not be used in any road vehicles and doing so is a criminal offence – the red dye distinguishes it from standard road diesel/DERV to alert HMRC inspectors to any misuse. 

Some farm vehicles are able to use gas oil when travelling on public roads between farms, but the distance must not exceed 1.5km and both pieces of land must be owned by the same person. Similarly, vehicles used to grit roads in icy conditions are permitted to use gas oil whilst carrying out the gritting. 

Please note: gas oil tax legislation will be changing from 1st April 2022. Please see latest Certas Energy statement for a summary so far of the gas oil tax legislation changes and how it may affect your business –  please click here. .

Gas oil or road diesel?

Whilst gas oil and road diesel are primarily the same type of fuel, road diesel does have a slightly higher cetane rating and can be more efficient for road vehicles. Both fuels can be used in the same way but, as stated, gas oil can only be used in accordance with government legislation. Using gas oil as an alternative to road diesel outside of the regulations is subject to significant fines.

Ordering gas oil

If you are looking to order gas oil for your business, Certas Energy can deliver to your sites across the UK, as well as providing self-serve at a range of our refuelling sites (bunker sites) and a selection of our fuel forecourts. Call your local team for further advice on 0345 600 4040 or request a quote online.

Why choose Certas for your gas oil?

Certas Energy is the UK’s largest distributor of liquid fuel and supplies businesses with reliable fuel deliveries across the the UK from its national network of 130 depots. With the industry’s largest fleet of 900 tankers, your fuel delivery can be from 500 litres up to 36,000 litres in one drop. As well as providing an assured and reliable supply of high-quality gas oil,  our customers can also be reassured of expert advice for all commercial fuel needs with specialist, friendly and professional teams on-hand.

Speak to Certas today and find out more about our competitive gas oil services. .

Common FAQs about gas oil

Is gas oil the same as red diesel? Gas oil and red diesel are the same diesel product. They are simply different names referring to the same fuel. Some other names for the same product are tractor diesel, cherry diesel or cherry juice, 35 second fuel and farm diesel or tractor diesel. These names all refer to the red-dyed diesel fuel.

Do I have to pay tax on gas oil? Whilst gas oil is a rebated fuel, fuel tax duty is still applied, although at a lower rate to white diesel/DERV/road diesel. Prices for gas oil are lower due to this lower fuel duty. 

Please note: gas oil tax legislation will be changing from 1st April 2022. Please see latest Certas Energy statement for a summary so far of the gas oil tax legislation changes and how it may affect your business –  please click here.

What is the EN590 standard? The EN590 standard is the current emission standard, developed to reduce the sulphur content in diesel fuel. Fuels within this category are referred to as ‘ultra low sulphur fuels’ or ULSD (ultra low sulphur diesel) and gas oil fully complies with the EN590 standard.

What is the difference between gas and gas oil? ‘Gas’ is generally used as the shortened version of ‘gasoline’. Gasoline is essentially another term for petrol and is primarily used to fuel road vehicles. Gas oil is an ultra low sulphur fuel (ULSD) alternative and can be used in accordance with UK legislation, for example in off-road plant and equipment in construction, agriculture and marine, as well as other industries for heating and stand-by power generators.

How is gas oil made? Gas oil is taken from the ground in the form of crude oil, which is then heated and distilled to become gas oil. Red dye is added to the final product to give it its distinctive colour and make it easily recognisable against colourless road diesel.

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