Red Diesel/Washing/fuel-fruad

With diesel now costing £1.40 a litre its no surprise that it has caught the eye of the criminal fraternity.

The naughty fuel industry along with sectarianism & the undertones counts as one of  Northern Irelands more prolific exports, the roots of diesel laundering started in the bandit border country in the 90’s, it is fast growing in the mainland UK and the and in these austere times the government is coming down hard and fast.

We come across fuel fraud in it’s various guises all the time, from people who have bought/stolen ship marine bunker fuel in the tilbury docks (dont bother it is far too thick for diesel engines) to people who have damaged engine parts using low quality fuel that had been laundered.

Red diesel is white diesel with a dye in it, the dye goes in at the refinery at the point of control of Customs & excise, it is a very tightly controlled process.

The dye used in the UK is this one, there are many ways to detect fuel fraud that I know of, the first is a visual test (is the fuel red) the second is a chemical test which is far more accurate and involves a test tube, this can be done in a few minutes at the side of the road by a customs testing van, then there are a whole battery of tests that can be done in a lab, these are extremely accurate and can detect parts per billion of fuel dye or forensic clues as to where your fuel came from.

I read somewhere that there was a bean counter in Isuzu who discoverd an alarming failure and replacement rate for a common engine model under warranty , but bizarrely nearly all of the warranty claims came from Ireland, once the engineers had finished doing the autopsy on the failed components it became clear that the cause of failure was low quality washed fuel – which was the fuel of choice for nearly all Isuzu drivers at the time. instead of re-engineering the parts to comply with the  illegal fuel market they simply withdrew that model from the irish market, and they tightend up on warranty claims

Diesel washing is done in the following ways

Bread; yep white bread loaf hollowed out to become conical and used as a filter to catch the dye, not very effective, very messy and will cross contaminate the fuel with all sorts.

Tampons, (clean ones) fill a traffic cone with tampons and use as a filter, probably works out twice as expensive as proper fuel

Cat litter; (I think in this day and age buying a ton of cat litter will get you on a watch list faster than a ton of ammonium nitrate) using cat litter as filter is another common trick, not exactly eco friendly and the fuel is now contaminated with a fine layer of hard granules – exactly the sort of thing you would want to put through a modern diesel engine if you wanted to scrap it.

Used engine oil; urban mythology and home brew chemistry never mix well but its been said that mixing used engine oil with red diesel, agitating and letting settle turns it white, – which is all good until customs do a proper test on it.

Nappies; another eco warrior favourite, take some clean nappies, fill a traffic cone and use as a conical filter,

Marine diesel; some of the bigger boats carry fuel that is clear and unmarked, it is also extremely heavy and far too thick for cars to run on, the pumps cant pump it and the pipes cant flow it,

Heating oil; much the same as red diesel but slightly different in its make up, not recommended for modern diesel engines, washed or unwashed.

engine oil; some older diesels will run on engine oil, for about a mile or so, try it if you dont believe me, while your at it put this number in your phone 07720875212 and call us about 30 minutes before you set off.

Bio diesel. low quality biodiesel is a surefire fueldrain,  water in the mix is the common fault, or just badly made batches, the stuff I have seen go wrong is all beginners with kits off ebay, most bio fuel chefs take great pride in turning out good fuel, the industry is now heavily regulated and you should only buy legitimate fuel.

It’s not worth it, really it isn’t  if you are using any volume of fuel you would be VAT registered  which means you get 20% of your fuel back, then the rest is deducted from your profit – and is a tax write off, so if you keep your books in order your 1.40 at the pumps good fuel is actually cheaper than the 1.00 cash barrels in the garage fill up in the dark, no guarantees, badman g fuel.



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