If you visit a service station in a farming area of B.C. you may see a fuel pump with the legend of marked or coloured fuel.
Look a little closer and you will find the price to be lower than normal regular fuel. Don’t be tempted to fill your tank with it unless you are specifically authorized to use coloured fuel as the penalties may be significant.
Coloured or marked fuel is normal gasoline or diesel fuel with a characteristic red dye added to it to distinguish it from other fuels.
Road tax is not collected on the fuel at the time of sale resulting in the lower price at the pump.
The majority of the use of coloured fuel takes place off road, so the contribution to highway maintenance is not missed.
If you have a vehicle with farm licence plates (the additional emblem is no longer needed) that is used for farm purposes or operate road building machinery within a provincial highway project area you may use marked fuel when driving on a highway. All other legitimate uses are off highway and include vessels, stationary or portable engines, mining, logging or petroleum exploration, snowmobiles or ATVs.
Coloured fuel purchasers using unmanned dispensing locations must complete an end use certification form FIN438 as a part of their account.
Otherwise, staff at self- or full-serve locations must prevent customers from dispensing marked fuel into licenced vehicles.
Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. To comment or learn more, please visit drivesmartbc.ca.