Off-road diesel is extremely cheap throughout the country, and it’s a vital part of our economy. But is it safe to use industrial diesel in a Ford truck?
Yes, it’s usually completely safe to run red diesel (off-road diesel) in a 6.7 Powerstroke. Red diesel is the same as regular highway diesel, apart from a red dye. However, using off-road diesel in your truck might be illegal.
In this article, we’ll cover the safety of using red diesel in a newer Ford 6.7-liter Powerstroke diesel engine. Additionally, we’ll compare red diesel to highway diesel and explain why it’s less expensive. We’ll also go over some of the problems with red diesel and give you a general idea of when it’s legal and when it’s not.
We sourced the information used in this article from reputable sources, including state off-road diesel information guides.
What is Off-Road Diesel?
Off-road diesel is regular diesel. It’s the same fuel made in the same way with the same ingredients, and it comes from the exact same refineries. However, off-road diesel isn’t subject to taxes because it’s used primarily for subsidized purposes, such as farming or construction. It’s also used as heating oil.
Off-road diesel is subject to very stringent use restrictions. Many people believe that using off-road diesel is legal as long as you’re driving on dirt or country roads, but this is incorrect. Off-road diesel can never be used on public roads, including gravel and dirt roads.
Is Off-Road Diesel Red Diesel?
Red diesel is another term for off-road diesel. All off-road diesel is dyed red, which helps law enforcement, vehicle owners, and fuel stations distinguish it from regular on-road diesel. Red diesel is subject to the same restrictions that off-road diesel is, and the two fuels are exactly the same and mostly safe to use in any engine.
Is the 6.7 Powerstroke Designed for Off-Road Diesel?
The Ford 6.7 Powerstroke was not technically designed for off-road diesel, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use it. However, these new Diesel engines (especially those equipped with DEF systems) are particularly sensitive to the quality of fuel they use.
There was once a time when a diesel engine would burn just about anything you put in it. That’s not really the case anymore, and it’s primarily due to emissions regulations. Modern diesel engines use complex and sensitive electronics to monitor fuel quality and particulates, and these systems can be damaged by contaminants.
The Ford 6.7 comes with a very robust fuel filter system, which is a big plus and makes running off-road diesel safer.
Is Off-Road Diesel Worse?
Off-road diesel isn’t worse per se. It doesn’t have anything to do with the fuel itself. The reason why running off-road diesel can be hazardous is because the fuel may have been contaminated at some point during delivery or storage.
Off-road diesel is sold in large quantities and stored in industrial fuel lots. The types of equipment that run off-road diesel can handle a bit of gunk in the fuel, and the tanks are usually much older and dirtier than your average gas station.
As a result, contaminants like dirt and water are more likely to find their way into commercial red diesel than taxed diesel, like the kind you find at the local fueling station.
Is it Legal to Run Off-Road Diesel in a 6.7 Powerstroke?
There’s nothing illegal about putting off-road diesel through a 6.7 Powerstroke motor. However, it is illegal to drive your truck on any public road after doing so. Off-road diesel isn’t taxed, so using it on the road is a violation of tax laws.
Off-road diesel can be used in industrial machinery, construction machinery, farm tractors, and farm vehicles that operate only on private property. This does not include local off-road trails, and there usually is not an exception for “just going to the store” or “taking the tractor to the mechanic.”
Will Off-Road Diesel Void My Warranty?
Owners of Ford trucks (specifically new 6.7 Powerstroke F250s and F350s) enjoy a long warranty, and they’re well aware that certain seemingly innocuous activities can void it. Rightfully, many Powerstroke owners wonder if using red diesel will void their warranty.
Thankfully, using off-road diesel in your truck doesn’t void the warranty. Remember, it’s the same as regular diesel, apart from a harmless dye and taxes. That means that it’s perfectly OK by Ford’s standards to run off-road fuel if your truck is used for agricultural purposes exclusively on private property.
An encounter with law enforcement regarding the use of red diesel also will not void your warranty. You will be subject to hefty fines, but your truck will still be repaired should something go wrong.
Should I Use Off-Road Diesel in a 6.7 Powerstroke?
As we mentioned earlier, red diesel is the same as regular diesel as far as your motor is concerned. The primary reason why you may want to be hesitant to use off-road diesel is that it’s occasionally contaminated. But if you find a reputable fueling location and get the right paperwork, there’s no reason not to use red diesel in your truck.
Red diesel will run just as well and clean as regular diesel, and the dye has a negligible effect on your motor. However, using red diesel on the road or without paperwork can get you in serious trouble, and your truck might be impounded because of it.
What Are the Penalties for Using Red Diesel Illegally?
Penalties for using off-road diesel on public highways vary between states, as do the specific requirements for getting it. However, every state levies a fine of some sort against people caught using red diesel on the road, and some states penalize you gallon-per-gallon.
If you’re suspected of using red diesel, a sample of fuel will be taken from your tank. If it’s red or pink, your tank will be drained, and you’ll be fined. The fuel from the tank may also be measured, and an additional fine for each gallon may also be levied against you.
There’s no way to know if you’re using red diesel without checking the tank. Contrary to popular belief, red diesel doesn’t produce red smoke. However, if you’re caught using it, you may face strict penalties or lose your ability to buy red diesel in the future.
About THE AUTHOR
Corey has been off-roading all his life, starting from a very young age on ATV's and dirt bikes. As he's grown older, his interests have focused more on larger off-roading vehicles like Jeeps and Toyotas. He lives for the slow and calculated crawl up (or down) steep terrain.Read More About Corey Brooks