What Color Is Diesel Fuel – And The Types

Diesel fuel is a byproduct of crude oil, a natural mineral resource from the earth. The process of refining crude oil produces gasoline, diesel, kerosene, etc., and all these byproducts have their unique purposes.

As a major byproduct of crude oil, diesel fuel comes in different varieties, which are distinguished by their colors. Now, you may be wondering, “What color is diesel fuel?”

The different types of diesel fuel and their colors have been exposed below in this article. Now, let’s find out what is diesel and the various types of diesel fuel.

What Color Is Diesel Fuel?

Diesel is a type of fuel that is produced from crude oil like regular gasoline. Many manufacturers produce vehicles, as well as heavy-duty trucks and equipment that use diesel fuel.

Diesel fuel comes in different varieties, which you can easily differentiate through their unique colors. Regular diesel is clear without any dye added for coloration. This kind of diesel is meant for on-road vehicles with diesel engines.

There are other colors of diesel fuel for special purposes. The laws of the United States strictly prohibit the use of these other colors of diesel fuel in on-road vehicles.

Types of Diesel Fuel and Colors

There are various varieties of diesel. Some are for use in on-road vehicles, while others are for use in off-road vehicles and heavy-duty equipment. The following are the various types of diesel fuel and their unique colors.

clear diesel vs green diesel

On-road/clear diesel fuel

The most common type of diesel fuel is the clear diesel fuel which is manufactured for on-road vehicle engines. This type of diesel fuel does not include too much coloration, apart from the fact that it is slightly green.

Clear diesel fuel is taxed like regular gasoline, and they are available for sale in every gas station. If you are asking, “What type of diesel is sold at gas stations?” The simple answer is “Clear diesel fuel.”

Green diesel fuel

Green diesel fuel is another variety of diesel fuel manufactured and chemically marked with green to indicate that it is exclusively produced for off-road equipment, especially for agricultural purposes.

Unlike clear diesel and gasoline, green diesel is taxed at a reduced rate because of its purpose. Hence, they are strictly regulated by law to prohibit their misuse or use in on-road vehicles.

Red diesel fuel

Like green diesel, the government does not levy taxes on the use of red diesel. Hence, manufacturers mark this diesel fuel with the addition of red dye to differentiate it from the regular on-road diesel fuel.

Red diesel is meant for off-road equipment. Any attempt to use red diesel in on-road vehicles can attract severe legal consequences up to fines running in thousands of dollars.

The fundamental difference between clear, red, and green diesel fuel is the composition, as well as their uses.

While clear diesel fuel is meant for on-road vehicles, green and red diesel fuel are intended for powering off-road equipment. They are also taxed differently.

what color is diesel fuel for trucks


Q: Does diesel fuel have a color?

Yes, diesel fuel comes in 3 different varieties, which include; red, blue, and clear. The colors differentiate the diesel fuel based on the United States government’s regulation for the varieties of diesel sold in gas stations.

It is essential to understand the difference that exists among these three varieties of diesel fuel and the tax, as well as the legal implications of purchasing them.

Using substances that have dangerous impacts when not properly handled can be very disastrous, hence the need for the government to guard citizens and residents against their use.

If you drive a car with a diesel engine, kindly find out the implication of using the kind of diesel fuel you regularly use to prevent unexpected implications.

Q: What color is diesel naturally?

Diesel comes naturally white, clear, or slightly amber. It does not include any form of pigment or dye. In other words, the coloration in diesel is due to the additives that manufacturers include in the production process.

Various manufacturers of diesel add different kinds and quantities of sulfur to diesel fuel in the manufacturing process. That means there are tendencies for some manufacturers to add more sulfur to their diesel fuel than others.

It is crucial to know the natural color of diesel in order to be able to spot diesel fuel that has been excessively mixed with additives, especially to the point that it can be harmful to its users.

Q: How can you tell if fuel is diesel?

Knowing the type of fuel your vehicle is designed to use will help you avoid unnecessary challenges that come with using the wrong fuel. It is pretty easy to know if fuel is diesel or not.

In order to ascertain whether a car has been fashioned to use diesel fuel, open the door that grants access to the fuel tank. Kindly check out the release button or level that unlocks the fuel door and engage any of them to open.

After that, look within the space, you will find a label with the words “Unleaded Gasoline Only” or “Diesel Fuel Only.” It can also be any other short write-up that lets you know the type of fuel to use on the vehicle. Also, note that there are different types of diesel engines.

Q: Is diesel supposed to be clear?

Sure, diesel can be clear. If you are asking, “How many types of diesel fuel are there?” Diesel comes in different varieties, and they include – clear, blue, and red. Clear diesel is the variety that does not include any dye additive. It is a road-grade fuel used by most vehicles with diesel engines.

Clear diesel fuel is available and sold in virtually all gas stations across the streets in every city or neighborhood. If you drive a car with a diesel engine, make sure to use clear diesel as it is the designated diesel fuel for most diesel engines.

Q: What kind of fuel is diesel?

Diesel is a combustible liquid that is manufactured from crude oil and refined for use in diesel engines. The fractions of crude oil that make up diesel are relatively less volatile compared to the fractions that make up gasoline.

Diesel fuel is popularly referred to as diesel oil. Vehicles with diesel engines are powered by diesel fuel only. Any attempt to use any other fuel in the engines can damage the engine completely.

If you drive a car with a diesel engine, you must stick to using diesel fuel no matter what because any other fuel like gasoline can be detrimental to the engine.

Q: What does yellow diesel mean?

Yellow diesel means the diesel fuel has been altered from its original state. Diesel comprises 3 basic varieties, and they are – clear, blue, and red. Usually, when diesel is refined, the manufacturers add a green dye to the mixture, which adds a noticeable color to the substance.

The green dye is subject to fading; hence when diesel is newly refined and dispensed into a clear bottle, the green dye reveals its color. However, when the diesel fuel starts aging, the dye begins to fade until it changes to yellow or something darker.

So, if you find yellow diesel fuel, it is a sign that the fuel has stayed more than necessary without being used, hence the alteration in its color.

Q: Is green diesel illegal?

Of course, green diesel is illegal. The government taxes this kind of diesel fuel at a reduced rate because of their specific purposes such as agriculture. In order to differentiate this kind of diesel fuel, a green dye is added. That is why they are also known as “marked gas oil – MGO.”

Green diesel fuel is chemically marked to deter people from misusing the fuel for any other purposes other than the purpose it has been marked (e.g., agriculture).

Drivers who have stubbornly disobeyed the regulations that guard against the use of green diesel have faced severe consequences, including fines running into thousands of dollars.

Q: Is Red diesel illegal?

Yes, red diesel is entirely illegal for on-road vehicles. The government does not tax red diesel fuel like clear diesel and gasoline because they are exclusively used in off-road equipment.

However, the federal government and the state governments have strict rules and regulations that vehicle owners must comply with in order to use red diesel fuel in on-road vehicles.

Distributors and retailers of crude oil products are strictly under monitoring to ensure that they do not sell red diesel to users who intend to use them in on-road vehicles with diesel engines.

Ensure to find out the types of diesel fuel for cars and stick to the most suitable for your vehicle.

Q: Is Red diesel the same as green diesel?

No, red diesel is not the same as green diesel. They differ in terms of their compositions, colors, and uses. You may want to check out the diesel fuel properties of red diesel for further understanding.

Red diesel is not subject to federal taxes, and they are produced for off-road equipment. It can also be used as heating oil.

On the other hand, the term “green” in green diesel typically refers to the animal fats and plant components used in manufacturing the diesel fuel. They do not also attract the same tax level as regular diesel fuel and gasoline.

Final Words

The various types and colors of diesel fuel have in-depth exposure in the article above to enable you to differentiate them appropriately. If you have anyone who’s asking, “What color is diesel fuel?” Kindly educate them so that they can also take an informed decisions when needed.

Meanwhile, don’t forget that on-road vehicles are expected to use clear diesel fuel. Therefore, it is crucial to refrain from using green or red diesel fuel for any other purposes except for the right purpose.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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