Diesel fuel

This chapter 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.

Updates for 2020:

  • Clarification on biofuel standards.
  • Updated narrative around the increased percentage of biofuel.

Updates for 2021:

  • Link to hydrocarbon oil rates.
  • Link to Gov.uk page replacing 2019 Excise Notice 75.
  • Additional information on use of rebated fuel in mowing machines.
  • Additional information on red diesel in gritters.
  • Clarification when red diesel should not be used in mobile cranes.
  • Additional information added on repaying the rebate.

Download the diesel fuel chapter of the Yearbook of Road Transport Law


  • Ultra low sulphur diesel.
  • Biodiesel.
  • Fuel duty.
  • Rebated fuel (Red Diesel).
    • Permitted uses of rebated fuel.
    • Ancillary equipment.
    • Supply and storage of rebated fuel.
    • Enforcement.
    • Penalties.
    • Appeals.
    • Repayment of rebate.


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.

Download the diesel fuel chapter of the Yearbook of Road Transport Law