Wednesday, 29 September 2010
Red Ed - a chemical analysis...
Red Ediesel fuel is only slightly different chemically from regular automotive diesel fuel, but there can be a significant difference in cost. The cheaper Red Ediesel fuel could conceivably work in place of the more expensive automotive diesel fuel, but that would defeat the purpose of a fuel tax. In order to ensure that home heating oil, which is minimally taxed, is not used as diesel fuel, which can be heavily taxed, revenue agents require home heating oil to receive a special red dye. This liquid red dye can be detected in even the smallest samples taken for examination.
Using Red Ediesel for reasons other than home heating is generally considered a criminal act, since the buyer did not pay the proper tax for regular diesel fuel. If there is reasonable cause to inspect a vehicle's fuel tank or storage tank, inspectors can quickly and conclusively identify the presence of red diesel and take appropriate action against the offender. Without the creation of red diesel, it would take a trained chemist to differentiate between home heating oil and automotive diesel fuel.
Different countries use different solvent dyes to create their Red E-diesel, but the purpose is generally the same. The dye has no negative effects on the fuel itself, but it does allow revenue agents to determine at a glance if a violation has occurred.
Hat tip: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-red-diesel.htm