Letter Re: Diesel Fuel Storage and Dyed Diesel Issues

I don‘t know how things are in your country, but in most parts of Europe we have heating oil extra light for household use. This is red in colour and virtually identical with standard diesel fuel. The only differences are the colour and the taxation, because this is always very much cheaper than the vehicle fuel. For obvious reasons it is forbidden to use this as a vehicle fuel, but it is theoretically possible.

Heating oil can be stored in large quantities without any special permits, which is not the case for vehicle fuels. Containers for it are readily available and may already be on the property. It will arouse no especial comment if you order it and store it.
It can be ordered in summer at a lower price usually.

Since it is a common consumable there is no difficulty about rotating stocks, especially if you have an oil-fired heating.
The standard central heating will not function without electricity for the pumps, but there are plenty of individual stoves that can burn heating oil extra light.

If the world goes pear-shaped, then nobody is going to be checking the fuel in diesel vehicles to see that it is the correct one.
Diesel powered vehicles are generally more robust and will last longer with little maintenance, in addition to using less fuel in most cases.

Diesel vehicles will generally operate on old and dirty fuel, although the modern electronic systems are now leading to motors that are more fussy. The old style mechanical injection pumps needed clean fuel, but otherwise would keep running.
The cooling oil used in large electrical power transformers can also be burnt in a diesel engine, especially in summer. Please only remove the coolant from a transformer if you know it will never be switched on again, you are not likely to be the flavour of the month if you drain the coolant from a transformer that is in use! – Simon F., Across The Pond

JWR Replies: Diesel fuel stores for 10+ years if an antimicobial such as PRI-D is added.

Here in the United States, red dye is also used to differentiate “Off Road Diesel.” This is to ensure that this untaxed fuel is not used in vehicles operating on highways. Depending on state law, dyed diesel is generally legal for use in farm tractors, off road vehicles, stationary engines, to burn in frost protection smudge pots, or for use as a substitute for home heating oil.

Most diesel engines work fine when burning dyed diesel or even home heating oil. (But neither is legal, when driving on highways.)

Be advised that some of the latest-generation Chevy and GM diesel engine vehicles have an optical sensor built into their fuel systems that can be stained and ruined by dyed fuel. I have read that they cost about $250 to replace!