What is the Difference Between On-Road Diesel and Off-Road Diesel?

March 30, 2023

What is the Difference Between On-Road Diesel and Off-Road Diesel?

on-road and off-road diesel difference

Diesel is a vital fuel source for several industries across the planet due to its high efficiency and safety. Because of federal and state laws, diesel fuel is available in two forms: on-road and off-road diesel. Though they are the same, there are several ways they differ. One way is how on-road diesel fuel can be purchased from nearly any gas station, while off-road diesel is supplied by reliable diesel delivery service provider like Fuel Logic. Below, we provide more details about the difference between these two diesel types and their uses.

What is On-Road Diesel?

On-road diesel, known for its regulated sulfur content, is fuel for vehicles that operate primarily on public roads and highways.

It is the more widely available version of diesel since you can purchase it from nearly any refill station across the US.

More importantly, it is also the only type of diesel that vehicles traveling on the road are allowed to use, duly mandated to adhere to environmental standards regarding sulfur emissions.

What is Off-Road Diesel?

Off-road diesel, also called ultra-low sulfur diesel, is used for off-road industrial equipment and vehicles on private property or while conducting business.

This version is not available for general sale to the public. Instead, one must contact an expert off-road diesel delivery service like Fuel Logic.

Additionally, public drivers cannot use this red diesel in their diesel engines, or they will be fined heavily due to federal and state regulations.

The Difference Between On-Road and Off-Road Diesel

So, what is the difference between these two types of diesel? While both are the same chemical fuel source and have the same fuel quality, they have three key differences: color, cost, and use. Below, we provide further details and explain their importance.

1. Color

A noticeable difference between on-road and off-road diesel fuel is the color. Off-road diesel or "red diesel" is dyed red with a dye to make it distinct and easy to identify. This distinguishes from on-road or "clear diesel" which has a transparent color opposed to the dyed red look of dyed diesel fuel.

2. Cost

They also differ in price. This is because on-road diesel is taxable, with federal and state taxes imposed on its sale to fund our country’s infrastructure. Therefore, dyed diesel is also cheaper than on-road diesel.

On the other hand, off-road diesel (untaxed diesel) is not taxed by the state and federal government, making it a cheaper fuel source. These benefits industries such as construction, farming, and transportation, which use off-road diesel for most of their equipment and vehicles.

3. Uses

On-road diesel powers vehicles that travel on public roads, including transport trucks, public transit, and school buses.

On the other hand, vehicles and equipment that aren’t operated on public roads can use dyed diesel as fuel. Examples of off-road equipment that use red-dyed diesel include:

Farm equipment


Construction equipment

Electrical power generators

We Specialize in Diesel Delivery for All Types of Vehicles!

If you are a company in need of reliable off-road diesel fuel deliveries, consider working with Fuel Logic. We provide fast and hassle-free bulk fuel deliveries using mobile fueling trucks capable of meeting you when and wherever you need them. We'll take care of your off-road vehicles and offer a competitive price per gallon. Contact us to learn more about our services or to schedule your diesel delivery today!

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