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Fill up with heating oil instead of diesel? Legal and is that even possible?

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Recently updated on October 3, 2023 at 01:39 am

Fill up with heating oil instead of diesel? Legal and is that even possible?

[Update: 03.10.2023] This post was updatedto take more recent information into account. The view that diesel differs from heating oil only differs by the red color is a widespread thesis. But is that also true? Can instead of diesel also heating oil be refueled? We'll explain this to you and tell you why what initially seems cheap quickly turns out to be quite cheap expensive can be. Heating oil and diesel are different, than many believe. Although it was off the red color until the mid-1990s hardly any chemical differences between the fuel and the fuel, the situation is current anders Heating oil is still colored red, but now also with an additional color Marker to prevent misuse in diesel engines.

Differences: heating oil and diesel

But why is heating oil even used for diesel engines? The reason for this is clear better taxation of heating oil versus diesel. Since both heating technology and car engines are constantly being developed, the fuels also have to adapt. This is one of the reasons why diesel and heating oil are different these days differentiate more clearly from each other than 20 years ago.

Fill up with heating oil instead of diesel? Legal and is that even possible?

  • Sulfur content:
    A big difference between heating oil and diesel can be seen in the Sulfur content. While diesel with a proportion of 10 mg sulfur per liter is more or less a sulfur free applies, the value for low-sulfur heating oil EL is significantly higher and amounts to 50 mg / l. Therefore, when fuel oil is burned in diesel engines, there may be emissions Sulfur dioxide come, which forms a sulphurous acid in the engine compartment. Since motor oils hardly have any neutralizing base reserves, the acid has an effect damaging the engine. Hence it can be used for Corrosion the exhaust system and at an early stage engine failure kommen.


  • Another difference lies in the Additives, which are added to both the diesel fuel and the heating oil EL (extra light) directly in the refinery and which differ significantly from each other.

Further additions:

  • Since diesel fuel is produced in accordance with DIN 590, it also contains additives that Ignitability (Cetane number) guarantee. However, EL heating oil will be no additives added to improve ignition, so it can lead to a increased soot formation (Coking), heavy nailing and a faster one wear of the engine.

Fill up with heating oil instead of diesel? Legal and is that even possible?

Active ingredients for better filterability:

  • Diesel fuel is used in winter or in the transition period drugs offset, which reduce its filterability and protect the engine. Thanks to these active ingredients, diesel remains at a temperature of, for example -20 ° C filterable. The flowability of heating oil, on the other hand, can already be impaired at a temperature of +5 ° C. The situation is even worse when the temperature is below zero, because from -10 ° C forms heating oil Paraffin crystalsshowing the filter clog.

Difference between cooking oil and diesel:

And also when refueling from cooking oil from the discounter one should continue to think of the tax authorities. On vegetable oil, which is intended for use as a fuel, must also taxed become. Not as high as that, though Mineral oil fuel. So if you drive with cooking oil in the car, then you are obliged under the energy tax law to give the responsible main customs office a Tax registration to be submitted and the relevant tax amount to be paid. There is more about cooking oil in the following article: Stock up on vegetable oil (Pöl)!

Fill up with heating oil instead of diesel? Legal and is that even possible?

particularly important: the legal aspect

If you operate diesel vehicles, emergency power systems or work machines with heating oil instead of diesel fuel, make yourself punishable. Namely, you commit tax evasion. Anyone caught by customs with heating oil in the vehicle must pay the lost energy tax for the entire tank volume. In extreme cases threaten substantial fines or up to 5 years in jail, And the Control of the tank contents is possible without a chemistry laboratory. Especially because of the red dye. In principle, however, there are also some exceptions and this is how emergency power systems operate with heating oil in the event of a disaster not punishable. In such a case, a Approval from the responsible main customs office be caught up.

Our conclusion - fill up with heating oil instead of diesel?

Using heating oil instead of diesel is not a good idea. You don't just mess with it punishablebut can also be serious and expensive Damage on the engine and its attachments (Exhaust gas cleaning system, DPF, cat, etc.) cause. Driving the car with heating oil is theoretically possible - but definitely not recommended.

Fill up with heating oil instead of diesel? Legal and is that even possible?

FAQ: Heating oil instead of diesel – violations, consequences and myths clarified

1. Why is it illegal to fill up with heating oil instead of diesel?

  • Criminal liability: Filling up with heating oil is illegal due to tax evasion.
  • controls: The German customs administration is carrying out mobile checks to detect this violation.

2. What physical effects does heating oil have on the diesel engine?

  • Performance reduction: Higher pollutant emissions and reduced performance may occur.
  • Engine contamination: Heating oil leads to increased deposits and contamination of the engine.

3. What are the long-term effects of driving on fuel oil?

  • Wear and tear: Premature wear and rapid wear and tear on the vehicle.
  • Punish: Possible fines or up to five years in prison.

4. Can you remove the red color from heating oil?

  • Red color: Heating oil contains red dye and the marker Solvent Yellow 124 to prevent misuse.

5. Are heating oil and diesel the same?

  • Differences: Despite similarities, heating oil and diesel cannot be equated due to their different components and taxation.

6. What difference is there in the taxation of heating oil and diesel?

  • Taxation: Heating oil is taxed at 6,14 cents per liter and diesel at 47,04 cents per liter.

7. Can machines be operated with heating oil?

  • How to use: Heating oil may not be used in machines unless they are stationary emergency generators.

8. What are the penalties for using heating oil as fuel?

  • Punish: Tax evasion is punishable by up to 5 years in prison or a fine.
  • Subsequent taxation: In addition, the heating oil must subsequently be taxed at the higher diesel price.

9. How long can heating oil be detectable in a car tank?

  • Detectability: Heating oil can often be detected in the tank for several years.

Final Thoughts

Filling up with heating oil instead of diesel may seem like a cost-saving measure at first glance, but the financial, legal and mechanical consequences can be significant. The extensive controls and severe penalties underline the seriousness of this violation of energy tax laws and environmental regulations

Of course that had not been the case. has a lot of other articles on the subject of auto & tuning in stock. Do you want to see them all? Just click HERE and look around. 

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Fill up with heating oil instead of diesel? Legal and is that even possible?

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About Thomas Wachsmuth

Thomas Wachsmuth - He has been an integral part of since 2013. His passion for cars is so intense that he invests every available penny in them. While he dreams of a BMW E31 850CSI and a Hennessey 6x6 Ford F-150, he currently drives a rather inconspicuous BMW 540i (G31/LCI). His collection of books, magazines and brochures on the subject of car tuning has now reached such proportions that he himself has become a walking reference work for the tuning scene.  More about Thomas


  1. It was strange to me that the taxation of heating oil is significantly better than diesel, but is unsuitable for refueling. My supply of heating oil is slowly running out and I therefore urgently need new heating oil. Hopefully I will quickly find a suitable contact person for first-class heating oil.

    • There's some nonsense being spouted here. Stationary engines such as generators or pumps can be operated with heating oil without a permit. I have 3 diesel cars mostly
      (Salad oil share 75 - 90% each driven over 230000 KM with non-esterified vegetable oil. No problem. There were suction or simple turbo prechamber diesel. 2 x Ford 1 x Toyota. My Hatz unit also only runs with heating oil EL. Everything else is included to discard fairy tales.

  2. Thank you for this post on filling up with heating oil instead of diesel. It's crazy that heating oil is taxed much more cheaply than diesel, but you're making yourself liable to prosecution for tax evasion. I've always bought cheap heating oil, but it's never occurred to me to use it to fill up my car.

  3. Thanks for the contribution to the heating oil. I've been looking for more information on this for a while. The post really helps me a lot!

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