What Is Reefer Fuel – What Is The Difference With Regular Diesel For Trucks?

By Max Anthony •  Updated: 09/12/22 •  6 min read

Fuel from a tractor or a trailer can be used to power an engine, or even to maintain the refrigeration in a trailer. But there is a key difference between the two: Reefer fuel can be used in many different types of trucks and heavy machinery. It can be used to power the trailers, but not to drive them on public roads.

Live Mechanic Help 24/7
Chat With A Mechanic Online

Connect with a verified mechanic in minutes. No appointments. No high fees. No waiting. Get back on the road and enjoy the ride.

Reefer fuel is not restricted to driving reefer trailers; it powers other types of vehicles, like tractors, and is even used for building structures. Reefer diesel powers many different types of vehicles, such as construction vehicles and those used for off-road and agricultural purposes. It smells very pungent like diesel. Red dyes mark fuel that is very unique, and some states impose different taxes on different types of fuel, so it’s illegal to use it on the roads. Reefer diesel is a low-quality fuel that’s like gasoline but with less of a lagging smell than diesel.

Diesel that is made from reefer fuel is not used to power a truck. It is used to keep the refrigeration systems running. You may find that knowing more about how to use various types of fuel in different types of vehicles can help you save money and avoid costly mistakes.

What is Reefer Fuel and What is it For?

Reefer fuel is a fuel that is used in refrigerated trailers. The trailers are protected from heat by using diesel fuel that is legally allowed in the U.S. Red-colored diesel fuel is what keeps massive refrigeration units like refrigerated trailers cold. It is illegal to use gasoline in on-road vehicles and trucks because it damages the engines. Without it, millions of dollars worth of products could be damaged.

It’s not used to run the truck. Using this fuel to keep the trailer cool means that it’s not subject to the on-road fuel tax. It is common for companies to dye the fuel used to make sure that it’s not subject to the on-road tax and that it only serves as a non-road fuel. It is illegal to use fuel that is dyed red, and you will be fined up to $10,000 depending on the state. Many states take very hard steps to prevent people from doing this.

A lot of fuel is needed to dissolve the dye, and therefore, it will be obvious when it is placed in an on-road vehicle. If you use on-road fuel in an off-road vehicle, you must keep track of and keep records of the fuel you used so that you can get your money back on your fuel taxes.

Live Mechanic Help 24/7
Chat With A Mechanic Online

Connect with a verified mechanic in minutes. No appointments. No high fees. No waiting. Get back on the road and enjoy the ride.

You will have to show some proof of that, which is why you may want to consult an advisor or accountant. Tax authorities check for vehicles that use the fuel on the road. They look for fuel stains in the fuel tank and in the engine compartment. Tax authorities use a black light that can be used to detect the presence of dye in the fuel and in the compartment of the engine.

What Is Reefer Fuel

Differences Between Reefer Fuel and Regular Diesel

Diesel fuel and reefer fuel are different. Diesel fuel and reefer fuel are similar, but they are taxed differently and have different runtimes. Regular fuel, such as gasoline and diesel, is taxed, but fuel that is used in reefer vehicles is not taxed. Modern diesel-fueled reefer engines burn 0.5 to 1.1 gallons of diesel each hour, though it differs based on the length of time that the engine runs.

If you buy it, you can use reefer fuel on private property, unlike diesel fuel which can be used on commercial property. It is illegal to use red fuel in commercial vehicles because people will misuse it or cause confusion about its intended use. If you use it, it will keep the equipment in your truck cool and the truck trailer clean. But it should not be used to power a highway machine or a truck.

Reefer fuel is used to power vehicles that maintain the interior temperature of their vehicles and the food that they transport. Refrigerant trucks use reefer fuel to keep the air inside their compartments and to transport food. Sometimes trucks have separate places for diesel and for reefer fuel, because both types of fuel are needed for different things.

Differences Between Reefer Fuel and Tractor Fuel

Fuel that is used in refrigeration trucks is known as reefer fuel. It is a cheaper alternative to gasoline. Off-road fuels can be used to power equipment that isn’t driving on highways where the government requires drivers to pay tax on the diesel.

Tractor fuel is the diesel that meets the fuel tax standards for standard vehicles. It’s a cheap fuel that comes in between gasoline and diesel. The amount of crude oil that is distilled to make it is very similar to what you would get from a tank of gasoline. Refining technology that was developed during World War 11 is now more efficient in producing a fuel that is more useful. Power fuel is a better grade of gasoline for tractors.

If you plan to use reefer fuel in a vehicle when you’re stopped at a public crossing and the dye is in the fuel, you could end up paying a fine that may reach as high as $10,000. Tractor fuel, on the other hand, is a standard number 2 diesel. It’s a higher grade than gasoline and is not a penalty. So it’s also the same as diesel in a regular car, and it can be used in any car that uses diesel. There are no fines for driving with tractor fuel in your vehicle.

What’s the Average Cost of Reefer Fuel?

Diesel fuel that is used to run reefers costs only $2.99 per gallon, but depending on where you live, it may cost as much as $3.30 per gallon. It is cheaper than diesel that you can buy at a gas station, because it is not taxed and doesn’t contain any petroleum.

The cost of using a reefer is $2.97 per mile across the nation, but rates vary by region, so different parts of the country may have different costs associated with using a reefer.

(Visited 390 times, 1 visits today)

Max Anthony

Max is a gizmo-savvy guy, who has a tendency to get pulled into the nitty gritty details of technology and cars. He attended UT Austin, where he studied Information Science. He’s married and has three kids, one dog and a GMC truck and a Porsche 911. With a large family, he still finds time to share tips and tricks on cars, trucks and more.

Keep Reading