[Vwdiesel] [vwdiesel] Fuel

Keith Family familykeith at comcast.net
Sun Mar 16 12:45:35 PDT 2008


You should have no problem with the technical aspects of burning 
home heating oil in a caddy.   I (in my long distant past) burned 
home heating oil in a 1980 Rabbit.   The 
societal/legal/aggrivation aspects may be problematical, however.

With mine, I found a couple of things.
1. The engine would run a bit rougher, particularly when cold. 
Once warmed the difference was almost indistinguishable save for 
(I think) a slight increase in the diesel smell.   I suspect that 
modern diesel is a bit more refined than even the 1980s version 
of the same thing (we're now into the "clean diesel" era) so you 
may find the difference even more noticeable - but not 
necessarily objectionable.
2. You'll want to run the #2 oil through a filter as you transfer 
it to your car.   Those VW Robert Bosch filters still tend to be 
a little pricey and although the aftermarkets are more 
reasonable, you can extend your filter life by pre-filtering the 
#2 oil as it goes in.
3.  You may want to do this in periods somewhat between an annual 
inspection.   If the inspector finds you burning non-tax-paid 
fuel, you'll likely not get an inspection sticker and may even 
get a call at home from a man in a uniform.

It is STILL illegal to burn colored red (no road tax paid) fuels. 
Mostly the police when they stop you on a routine traffic 
violation will not pay much notice, nor think to even look at 
your fuel.   But then they may.

That clear plastic tube leading to your filter/engine is a dead 
give away.   You can at least make it harder to see by replacing 
the tube with a solid opaque tube or by wrapping electricians 
tape "spiral wise" around the tube.

Truck stop fuel sampling does happen.   Usually, the police 
(Dept. of Revenue?) will hang around truck stops and catch trucks 
coming or going and looking for traces of the red dye in their 
samples.    Additionally, it is possible for the police on a 
routine traffic stop to demand a "sample" of your fuel.   Both 
are unlikely, (it's never happened to me in 20 plus years of 
driving diesels) but the possibility, however remote, does exist.

In the older VWs the fuel is accessed by removing a star shaped 
cover.   Technically this is not "entering" your car and a sample 
could be taken legally if the police choose to do so.   In this 
case you'll want to purchase a "lock-able" fuel cap which was an 
aftermarket accessory, and which changes the legal status of your 
fuel door to "search warrant" status.   Newer diesel VWs, 
however, have an inside door release latch which you access 
inside the car.   It is NOT legal for the police to sample this 
type without a warrant, or your permission.

Of course, if the police want to, a search warrant can be 
obtained over the radio in about 10 minutes if they suspect 
you're burning non-tax diesel and REALLY want to make an issue of 
it.   Mostly they don't bother.

Now different states vary on fuel tax regulations.   A recent 
case in the midwest involved someone who had converted their 
diesel rabbit to burn straight vegetable oil (SVO) and was 
detected and fined by the state authorities as "bypassing" the 
road tax laws.   They owed umpteen thousands of dollars in fine, 
penalty and interest.   Most states are more enlightened than 
this realizing the good that biofuels do for the environment and 
discouraging their use is counterproductive to our societal 
goals.   It might be well to consult others in your area who may 
have run this biofuel hurdle to get a feel for the sensitivity 

If you're crafty and want to avoid fuel sampling, you can install 
an auxiliary switch-able tank.   You might even be able to set 
this up to burn SVO if you do it right.   Leave your existing 
tank as "tax paid" fuel and put the dyed untaxed fuel in the 
auxiliary tank.   Want to sample?  Here, let me undo the cap for 

Meanwhile, to slip a gallon or two into your 10 gallon tank can't 
possibly hurt anyone, providing you're not due up for inspection 
in the next couple of weeks.

You know, you might even want to hold that partial tank of #2 
fuel in your basement as a hedge against a blockade of the 
Straits of Hormuz - which is VERY likely, the US media and our 
national perceptions notwithstanding.

Of course, those of us who want to bypass the approximately 24 
cent fuel tax can violate the law and do so anytime, but at less 
than 10 percent price difference between #2 oil and bona fide 
clean diesel, plus the additional filtering, AND the possibility 
of spilled fuel, it's hardly worth the aggrivation.

At least that's what I found 20 or so years ago.


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