Diesel Fuel Compliance Checks | VideoRetha Colclasure | 11/8/2012
There are two kinds of diesel fuel that you can buy. Clear diesel fuel is meant for most vehicles traveling on state roads. But dyed diesel fuel, taxed at just four cents a gallon, is meant for off-road purposes, like construction or agriculture.
The number of gallons of diesel fuel used in North Dakota is up, way up.
"Since 2008, the increase in clear diesel fuel is 82 percent. The increase in dyed diesel fuel is up 91 percent," said North Dakota Tax Commissioner Cory Fong.
But dyed diesel fuel can only be used in limited circumstances. It`s taxed differently, so it`s cheaper than the diesel fuel meant for on-road vehicles.
"We were concerned some were using the wrong kind of fuel and taking advantage of the differential," Fong said.
So the tax department, the North Dakota Highway Patrol, and the Department of Transportation teamed up to find out.
"We`ve done joint inspections in the Tioga area, Williston, Ellendale, Devil`s Lake, Sykeston, Carrington, Grafton, New Town, Grassy Butte, just to name a few of them," said Col. James Prochniak with the North Dakota Highway Patrol.
More than 3,000 diesel-powered vehicles were tested and the results were surprisingly good. Less than two percent of the vehicles were using the wrong kind of fuel.
The tax department can`t say how much lost revenue that adds up to, but every bit counts.
"We`ve got traffic counts we`ve never had before. When you take Highway 85 that had between 2,000, 2,500 vehicles a day, that`s now over 10,000. Those roads need an awful lot of revenues to make sure that we can keep them up," said Francis Ziegler with the NDDOT.
Since the compliance checks started about a year ago, the rate of growth in use of dyed fuel has slowed some. Officials say they hope that means the word is getting out.
Of the 53 confirmed violations found, 18 were in commercial vehicles, 15 were in agricultural and 20 were in personal vehicles. And out of the 14 different testing sites, the only one where no violations were found was actually Williston, 492 diesel-powered vehicles were checked there.