Fuel Tax Dye Analysis

Method High Performance Liquid Chromatography

What is it used for?

Red diesel fuel, used in industrial and agricultural applications in the UK is subject to a heavily discounted tax rate.  As a result, defending from illegal use is extremely important from an HMRC perspective.


Red diesel has a number of dyes to aid detection of illegal use: Solvent Red 24, also known as Sudan IV, and Solvent Yellow 124, also known as “Euromarker” or Sudan 455 and quinzarin, which is not detected by this method.


How does it work?

The dyes are removed from the fuel using a technique called solid phase extraction (SPE), before being collected in solvent and analysed by liquid chromatography.


The dye compounds are “chromophores”, and therefore detectable by UV-Visbile detection.


What do the results tell us?

Levels of both the red and the yellow dyes present per mL of sample.  This gives an indication as to whether illegal fuel is being used or has historically been present in the sampled fuel tank.


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