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The Demise of Red Diesel

During the UK’s Budget in 2020 the UK government announced that it was removing the entitlement to use red diesel* from most sectors, except for agriculture, rail and non-commercial heating, from 1st April 2022.

Demise of Red diesel fuel

In commercial road transport this will mainly affect the temperature-controlled distribution sector where around 50,000 trucks (The Grocer 2-3-2020) currently rely heavily on diesel operated generators to chill their articulated trailers during deliveries.

While alternatives such as electric and solar powered chillers are available, the majority of units in the UK are diesel generators and up until now operators have relied heavily on the lower cost  red diesel for their operation.

Temperature controlled trailers and vehicles will slowly change over to alternative solutions for chilling, but this could take years and only will happen as the units are due for replacement. In the meantime, companies should be looking to utilise these units as efficiently and effectively as possible. The Descartes Scheduling and Route optimisation solution is the best way to optimise delivery of temperature controlled goods by making them as efficient as possible. Efficiency improvements can increase delivery capacity by 35% with the same number of vehicles and drivers.

Pol Sweeny, Descartes VP UK Sales recently took part in a Cold Chain Federation virtual panel discussion on this very topic, to watch the recording of this discussion please click here to watch the seminar and select the video for the 2nd day of events.

Click here for further details of the Descartes Scheduling and routing planning solution.


What is Red Diesel?

* Red diesel is a form of diesel fuel with a lower tax rate, approx. 1/5th that of regular diesel and can be used for certain types of machinery. The fuel itself contains a die, hence the term “red diesel”, that shows up when tested. This chemical die enables the fuel in vehicles that are not permitted to use the red diesel, such as cars or lorries, to be tested for the illegal presence of the fuel.