The Indiana Department of Revenue has the responsibility to ensure all applicable taxes on fuel, when authorized upon Indiana’s roadways, are collected. The division has the authority to assist in the enforcement of fuel laws.
Division personnel routinely check for the presence of dyed fuel in the fuel systems of commercial motor vehicles operating on Indiana highways. When dyed fuel is found in the fuel system of a CMV, a citation is issued and a sample of the fuel is taken and forwarded to the Indiana Department of Revenue for analysis and assessment.
Why fuel is dyed and how can it legally be used?
Fuel is dyed to distinguish what can be used on road (taxed fuel) and off road (untaxed fuel).
Dyed diesel fuel can be used in any diesel powered vehicle in an off road capacity. The dyed fuel must be removed if the vehicle is to be used on a public highway.
Use of special fuel as stated
in IC 6-6-2.5-62( c ):
No person shall operate or maintain a motor vehicle on any public highway in Indiana with special fuel contained in the fuel supply tank for the motor vehicle that contains dye or a marker, or both, as provided under section 31 of this chapter. This provision does not apply to persons operating motor vehicles that have received fuel in their fuel tanks outside of Indiana in a jurisdiction that permits introduction of dyed or marked, or both, special fuel of that color and type into the motor fuel tank of highway vehicles or to a person that qualifies for the federal fuel tax exemption under section 4082 of the Internal Revenue Code that is registered with the department (Department of Revenue) as a dyed fuel user.
A person who knowingly:
- violates; or
- aids and abets another person in violating; this section commits a Class A infraction. However the offense is a Class A misdemeanor if the person has committed one prior unrelated violation of this subsection, and a Class D felony if the person has committed more than one prior unrelated violation of this subsection.
The Department of Revenue shall impose a civil penalty on the operator of a vehicle of two hundred dollars ($200) for the initial occurrence, two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) for the second occurrence, and five thousand dollars ($5,000) for the third and subsequent violations.
Vehicles exempt from special fuel penalties:
- Heavy equipment, for off road use.
- Off road farm vehicles.
- Fertilizer, spreading machines, etc
- Special machinery vehicles (licensed as special machinery) i.e. well drillers, etc.
- Permitted vehicles, under special licensing by the Indiana Department of Revenue.
Some exceptions are:
- School buses (must be a registered dyed fuel user).
- Federal, state and municipal governments.
- Commercial buses (with restrictions).
- Local buses (with restrictions).
- Not for profit educational organizations.
- Vehicles not required to be registered for highway use by the state.