Red diesel fuel is intended for home use as a home heating oil in furnaces, and it is illegal to use in diesel cars. This type of fuel has similar chemical compositions to the automotive diesel #2, but it must not serve as a substitute for diesel #2 for public transportation. Manufacturers add a red dye to the fuel to distinguish it from diesel #2.
Some motorists use red diesel fuel in diesel cars because of the significantly lesser tax compared to consumer motor fuel. However, highway police officers can detect illegal use of the fuel using red dye indicators. Motorists are subject to prosecution for fuel tax evasion when caught using red diesel fuel unlawfully.
To meet the needs of residential customers, heating oil vendors often deliver red diesel fuel using tanker trucks and pump the oil to heating oil storage tanks in the homes of consumers. When it comes to commercial uses, red diesel fuel is beneficial for construction companies who use diesel generators, cranes, backhoes, bulldozers and other off-road diesel engines.
Farmers also use red diesel fuel in diesel-powered equipment, such as tractors. Other legal uses of red diesel fuel include carnivals, fairs and road shows, where people operate diesel engines without using them for public road transportation. In some places, red diesel fuel is known as heating oil, medium diesel, generator fuel or gas oil.