Using Vegetable oil as a diesel fuel


  Duty payable (UK)

  In the UK the government have recently introduced a new tax incentive for vegetable oil based fuels. The definition of biodiesel is 'an ester of vegetable oil fatty acid', which includes methyl ester (biodiesel made with methanol) and ethyl ester etc. Also, from a technical perspective, vegetable oil in it's pure form is an ester, therefore it should also come under the tax ruling, but customs and excise consider that because it is not 'diesel quality' it is not elligible for the reduced tax rate. The duty payable on biodiesel is now 28.35 pence per litre (+ VAT), as opposed to 48.35 pence for ultra low sulphur diesel (September 2006). The duty payable on vegetable oil, or SVO, is 48.35 pence. Duty does change regularly, so these figures are not always up to date. More recently, customs have given a ZERO tax rate payable on biodiesel and vegetable oil if production is less than 2,500 litres per year.

  Some people, however, have managed to get the lower rate for their veg oil. Notable cases are Dominic Goodwin of Biomotors and Plymouth biofuels. Dominic managed to persude his local customs team to accept a DIN standard as being proof that his fuel was of diesel quality. Plymouth biofuels went to court over attempts by customs to claim back pay for the difference in the two rates and customs lost the case! The big problem with customs is that their policy seems to vary from one region to another and they dont seem to communicate with each other. No doubt they will solidify their national policy on veg oilers at some time in the near future. But can they reverse their regional experiences, given that one of them is probaly now a precedent set in court?

  Hopefully customs and excise will soon change their policy on higher taxation on SVO and we can all help get this situation changed by writing letters to our local MPs asking for legislation to be changed to encourage the use of this fuel, which is probably more environmentally friendly than biodiesel due the fact that there is less processing and subsequently less pollution and energy wasted. See the discussion board for up to date news.

 Fuel producer registration

  We are registered fuel producers and make duty payments to customs and excise at the end of every month. Duty on vegetable oil based fuels has recently been set at 27.1 pence per litre if the fuel is used to power a vehicle on the road. Some of our customers have needed to set up as fuel producers themselves and they can do this by asking for form ex103 from their local customs office.