Diesel fuel and Fuel Efficiency

This page outlines the definition and use of standard diesel, ultra-low sulphur diesel (ULSD) and biodiesel, with a significant focus on rebated fuel (Red Diesel). Rates of Fuel Duty for different diesel-fuel types are also provided. Also, take a look at our advice below for ways to reduce your fuel consumption.

Use of Diesel Fuel 

Fuel costs constitute about a third of the total vehicle operating costs. Such a major cost area has attracted plenty of attention over the years and continues to do so, hence the continuing development of more fuel efficient engines which are, at the same time, increasingly environmentally friendly. 
There have been major improvements over the last 10 years in engineering a cleaner vehicle incorporating reductions in the amount of fuel being used together with technology such as engine management systems and emission control devices. Alternative fuels are gradually finding niche markets too, as innovative fleet operators and fuel suppliers jointly develop new products. 


Fuel efficiency tips

Before your journey

Plan your journey before setting off. Utilise website and sat-nav information to plan the best route avoiding, where possible, congestion and roadworks. See our traffic alert service for help with this.

Remove any unnecessary loads. The extra weight increases fuel consumption.

Check tyre pressures regularly. Under-inflated tyres are dangerous, wear out more quickly and increase fuel consumption.
While you're driving:

  • Drive calmly. Avoid harsh braking and acceleration. Pulling away too fast can use up to six per cent more fuel.
  • Concentrate, observe, anticipate. Maintain a smooth driving style that avoids accidents and saves fuel.
  • Brakes to slow, gears to go. Slow the vehicle using the brakes, engage the correct gear for your speed and by-pass all intermediate gears.
  • Don’t pump the accelerator or rev the engine unnecessarily.
  • Skip-shift (block shift) gears where it is safe to do so.
  • Pull away in the right gear.
  • Use cruise control on open roads and where it is safe to do so.
  • Switch off the engine in traffic jams and whilst waiting at levels crossings.
  • Watch your speed. Always travel at a safe speed according to the conditions. Remember the speed limit is a maximum in relevant conditions, not a target at any cost.
  • Know your average miles per gallon (MPG).