Legal Insight. Business Instinct.

Pink Diesel: For Farm Use Only

We have come a long ways from the days when our grandfathers used horsedrawn plows and wagons. We still rely on horsepower to get our farming done, but it is the motorized horses that plow the ground, harvest the wheat, and bale the alfalfa. Most of our tractors, combines, and swathers are powered by diesel engines.

Under the law unlicensed farm vehicles that are not used on public roads may use dyed diesel, also known as farm diesel. Dyed fuel is exempt from state and federal fuel taxes and is cheaper than diesel fuel purchased at most fuel stations. (The state tax on diesel is 32 cents per gallon and the federal tax is 24.4 cents per gallon).

Dyed diesel fuel often looks pink or red due to the added dye used to distinguish it from regular diesel fuel.

It is illegal to used dyed diesel fuel in licensed trucks or automobiles that drive on public roads. Since fuel taxes are used to build and maintain roads, illegal use of dyed fuel denies the government of taxes needed for roads.

It is a misdemeanor to improperly use dyed diesel fuel. In addition to criminal penalties, there is a civil penalty of $250 for misusing dyed diesel. A second offense will cost $500, and $1,000 for each offense thereafter.

The Idaho legislature is currently considering increased enforcement actions to catch those who may be breaking the law.

Be aware of the law when fueling up your truck or tractor, and know when you can use pink diesel.

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