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Big COL
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Time's marching on and the end of cheap red diesel will arrive quicker than you think. It occurred to me that the forum collectively could perhaps do a little to help the lobby for its continuation in the form of a collective petition. If a standard petition form were designed whereby each member could print off the form and collect names from each of their separate localities they could then sent to a central address and then be presented to the appropriate authority as a petition from the Canal World Forum.

I apologise to Jon in advance if this contravenes the rules of the forum and if so please delete it. If not then let's hear your opinions and try and get something organised. Otherwise don't complain when diesel becomes £1 a litre and you cannot afford to go cruising.

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Stuart

 

Heating oil or gas oil or 35sec oil is the same animal, similar to red diesel but not as refined and contains less of the additives that red or white diesel contains. This is why certain manufacturers of heating systems will no longer guarantee their equipment if gas oil is used.

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Heating oil / diesel

 

I can see there is some confusion as to what is what with this subject, but as I understand it there are two grades of fuel. I am sure someone will correct me if this is wrong.

 

1= 28 second oil, kerosene, paraffin, TVO (tractor vaporising oil)

 

2= 35 second oil, gas oil, red diesel, white diesel,

 

The two grades are taken at differing stages in the refinement of crude oil when refining petrol. they are basically graded by their weight ie 28 sec oil is lighter or thinner than 35 sec oil, the lighter or thinner the oil the less of the oil lubricating properties it has left in it, hence the need for caution as to the applications and uses of the fuel being used.

The oils in grade one are basically the same but each type has varying characteristics TVO for example was an agricultural fuel and could be described as a dirty form of paraffin as when it was used, it burnt off with a lot of black smoke.

With the exception of TVO the remaining oils should all work on equipment designed to use 28 sec oil.

 

The oils in grade two are also basically the same but with the difference in their properties caution is needed in their application, it's safe to say that all the oils in this grade will run a diesel engine, but this is not the case when applied to heating appliances. Some appliances will operate on any type in this grade, this is because they are designed to work on the lowest type in the grade. Other types of heating appliances are not and you must follow the manufacturer's instructions,and also be aware as to what you are buying on the cut. Gas oil is not the same as red diesel although in the same grade and will not perform properly with appliances that should be run on red diesel. When you buy fuel on the cut you should ascertain what they are selling you as most sell Gas oil and not Red Diesel.

I am no fuel expert and this is a very basic breakdown of oil grades but as I understand it this is correct. If there are some experts out there and there are any mistakes in this then please correct me.

All the oils in both grades with the exception of white diesel have a discounted duty on them which will soon cease, hence the origination of this thread. When this happens they will only be able to be used as heating oils, and you will then have to run your boat on white diesel incurring very much higher running costs.

Edited by Big COL
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Yes Col

What you say I think is right,

But 28 sec oil is not sutable for most modern injector pumps as there is little or no lubrication, where as on a old Gardner or Kelvin it should be ok ( I think)

I have 3 tanks one with 28 sec Kerosene for the Eberspacher heater one with 35 sec red derv for the mainengine and one with the same for the gen set in the bows, if this ruling comes to fruition i will still be able to use the 28 sec for heating and the red derve for the gen set but the main engine will have to use road derve, though you will not be able to get red derve from the marinas if this happens so i have had the tanks made large enough to be able to have a tanker delivery

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A Simple Question. If the Government fail to negotiate a further extension to the Tax allowance on all Commecial Deisels, why will the stuff being sold at marinas be £1 a litre when I can buy the purer (and therefore slightly more expensive to produce) white deisel at my local Garage for under 85pence per litre?

 

Second Simple Question. Why can the local Farmer buy Red Deisel for his Tractor at about 25p per litre when the local Marina has just put theirs up to 40pence per litre? And the farmers Storage tank is smaller than the Marinas

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Coz the garages make a very small profit on a very large t/over, when was the last time u saw 20 boats waiting to fill up in a line. garages make about 3-4 p per ltr but the boat yard will want 15-20p per ltr mark up, and that is the differance between the farmer and the boat yard, and is probably a fair profit margin.

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Mass rally of boats outside the Houses of Parliament - I don't think so!

 

Apart from the problems associated with keeping a flotilla of boats together on the tideway have a look at this Sunday Times Report. Currently, passage through Westminster Bridge is restricted (see Notice to Mariners) and you can bet your life that that the PLA and River Police would be down on any "rally" like the proverbial ton of bricks. They wouldn't be supplying extra ballast!

 

If you believe that tax free "red diesel" should continue to be available to boaters, I suggest you write to your MP and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. You can always go and see your MP at his or her local "surgery" as well.

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Apart from us boaters i dont think there is likley to be much support from the general masses so i should not think it will be staying at todays prices.

I think the more prudent move is that any person building now should put seporate tanks for heating and generating , also any boat with a 240 ac generator on the main engine may be ok to use red still, as it may be classed as multi-purpose

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Richard, I am inclined to agree with you that there will be little public support for the continuation of UK excemption from tax on Red diesel for non commercial use. Most of the EEC have been paying tax on it for years (albeit at a lower rate than our road fuel tax) and we have been lucky enough to escape it. Most House owners will consider boat owning to be either a luxury or a cheap form of permanent accomodation, so there will be little sympathy for us.

 

It has been calculated that the avearge boater will pay about £120 more per year for their diesel based on a cost of £1 per litre, and an annual usage of 200 litres. When considered rationally, this level of increase represents a fairly small proportion of the overall cost of running a boat, which is probobly in the range of £2,000 to £3,000 per year for the average marina based boat, an increase of between 4% and 6%.

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When you put it like that David, it doesn't seem a huge price to pay. As you and Richard acknowledge, boaters - a minority - are unlikely to get much sympathy from the wider public especially when they are told that we are effectively taking advantage of an exemption that was originally granted for commercial operations. General leisure boating can hardly be called commercial and even live aboards, who move their boats around the system, cannot claim to be operating a commercial fleet.

 

I can foresee a problem for the few remaining commercial carriers. Will they still be able to get tax free diesel? If not, their already precarious position will be made worse because they will be using considerably more than 200 litres of fuel a year.

Edited by Paul Evans
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Guest Sweeney

Not very far. The people hurt most by the new tax will be the genuine continuous cruisers, who use considerably more fuel than 200 lts/year. I don't know how that figure is arrived at but it implies that the boats are tied up for all but two weeks.

It's a sad day when the proper use of the canals is penalised in favour of water based housing but that is the way of thinking now. Change everything to suit that and everybody is happy. Well not me, but a protest to this government is a waste of breath.

 

Angry of Mayfair.

 

Sweeney of Newark actually. Rant over.

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Paul, As I understand it, genuine commercaial operators will still be allowed to use Red diesel, but whether that will include Hire boat companies is uncertain at the moment. This could lead to a problem over supply as most boatyards have only one tank and will have to decide which fuel to stock. Yards with a large fleet of hire boats will choose Red Diesel, wheras Marinas with mainly private boats will choose White Diesel. Ironicly it would appear that Fuel boats supplying private boats with White Diesel will be eligble to use Red Diesel for their own engine.

 

As far as 200 litres is concerned this is not my figure but a figure produced by a boating organization, as a result of surveying boat owners. My boat uses marginally more than a litre per hour, so 200 litres would last about 180/190 hours. For a variety of reasons this year was a quiet one for me, setting of rather late in the season and finishing earlier than usual, I travelled from near Bath to Oxford (including some time messing about on the Thames ) and then to Coventry and back to Stockton - 203 miles, 148 locks, 30 swing/lift bridges, Total time 119 hours, Fuel used 125 litres.

 

Depending on where I book a winter mooring, I do comparitively little cruisng during the winter months. This year the total number of days actually cruising was only 32 which works out at a little less than 4hours per day, which some people would consider pretty relaxed. When I was young and fit and crewing an ex Working boat we would have regularly worked 13 to 14 hours per day for a fortnight. but as I no longer have to rush about meeting deadlines I now prefer to take it rather more steadily.

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As I understand it, it is only Holland and the UK that still have excemption from the tax levy on marine diesel. The difference in price reflects both the taxing regime in the UK compared with the continent and the profit margins expected by suppliers in the UK.

 

In Holland, I believe there is no tax at all on Marine diesel but in the UK we do pay VAT. In France their Marine Diesel is taxed at the same level as Road Diesel which is substantially lower than in the UK.

 

The EEC is apparently going to require all Member States to tax non commercial use diesel at the same level, which would require the UK Government to increase the tax level on Marine diesel to the same as that charged on Road Diesel. As they are unlikely to reduce this, the cost of Marine diesel will rise substantialy.

 

Then there is the issue of profit margins by suppliers, which is much higher in this country than in most of Europe. There are also cartells in this country which keep the prices unrealisticly high. I used to belong to a boaters co-operative which purchased Coal, Gas and Red Diesel in bulk and sold it on to members at a very much reduced price, but one by one each local Diesel supplier was forced by the local Marinas "Trading Association" to either stop supplying us or put the wholesale price up so high that it was more than the retail price at the marinas. Remember It's not just the government that is keeping the cost of boating so high.

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What you have to bare in mind is that we are a island and as an island things cost more.

No one is making a profit out of the tax that goes onto things it is all spent, not always wiseley but it and more is spent on giving me and the services we demand.

This money to pay for these services has to come from someware and if not on fuel booze and fags etc it would have to be collected from some other means, so lets not put the duty on our fuel reduce it on my fags , and to cover this lets reduce the OAP to couver it

And before someone has a go at me for reducing the OAP im'e only being sarcistic.

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Some very interesting points of view. Firstly this is not only applicable to boaters, when the derogation finishes all recreational vehicles are to be prohibited from the use of red diesel. Whether this will include generators run at public events I am not sure but to my understanding the only use of red diesel will be for agriculture, the forces and permitted vehicles on public services ie road gritting, and heating.

There have been some very conservative figures used in some of the examples and I suspect the extra costs will be far greater than these. Most heating systems will use more than 200 litres in a winter. There will also be a lot of boaters that will have the immediate extra cost of having to fit a separate tank if they wish to continue to use red diesel. The cost of red diesel will rise to boaters as the quantity being sold will be considerably less due to the fact that consumption will only be for heating purposes, marinas will need to raise the price so as to earn a reasonable profit for going to the trouble of stocking a product that has a limited sale, that is the ones that will continue to do so. The unknown factor is just who will continue to stock red diesel - you may find that you have to cruise some considerable distance to find a stockist. I would think it will be damn near impossible to find anywhere to fill up drums as C and E have recently tightened up the regulations for the sale of red diesel. I would imagine that once the general sales cease they will tighten the regs even more, so you might not be able to lug cans of the stuff down the towpath as you will probably be unable to be allowed to buy any to put into a can to start with.

The ones that are at the build stage are in the fortunate position of being able to have a separate tank installed, but you will still have to fill it somewhere, so you could still have a problem. Richard suggested having a tank or tanks big enough for a tanker delivery- he may be lucky in his area in that he may be able to get tanker deliveries of small amounts, but these will probably be 500 litre minimum deliveries. That equates to about 1/2 ton of liquid ballast which raises another problem - where to site the tank so as not to alter the trim too much.

To my mind there are too many unknowns to be blasé or apathetic about this situation, the one thing that isn't an unknown is that it will become more expensive to run a boat if this comes about, as it's always the public who has to bear the cost.

I think you may have underestimated the inconvenience that this is going to cause. My own boat has only one tank which was deliberate as my marina is a day's cruise in either direction from an alternative fuel point and it's unknown if any of these three will stock red diesel. There seemed little point in installing an extra tank for it still to be unused as I may not have any facility to fill it when I most need it, i.e. winter time when, although I am on the boat most weekends, I could see little point in cruising for two days just to stock up on red diesel. I will just have to see what transpires and then act accordingly but I have consciously already made the decision to bear the extra cost. I am fortunate to be in a position to do this but there are a lot of people who are not and may very well have to give up boating altogether and maybe lose their home, which would be a tragedy. Let's not be insular about this, the comment that the general public doesn't care is a defeatist attitude to adopt, have some feeling for the boaters that are going to find this hard - it may be their homes that they have to give up. There are enough of you living as full time liveaboards to know that this is true, we all know someone who is struggling to keep ahead of the rising costs to stay with their boats. This will be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

I have already signed a petition for this but the more petitions raised the greater chance of the collective voice being heard and the more chance there is of something being done or you can be insular and the collective voice will be a squeak.

To attempt and to fail is more honourable than not to attempt at all.

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Hi BC

Everything you say i suspect is right.

I have sighed a petition and will continue to support this as i dont want to pay anymore for my fuel than i have to but i think "and hope" that eletric generated for heating, lighting etc will still be exempt.

My tanks. all on the center line of the boat are 500ltr for main engine 300 ltr for the gen set and 500 for heating and by the looks of it will all have diferent fuels in them, derv for engine red derv for gen set and karasine for heating , i have checked with a heating oil supplier and they will top up all three on the canal side but will not go to marina where they think they will not be alowed to do it. though i think it may be a problem if i want say 400ltr heating oil and only 100 ltr of red or white derve, but maybe not as i know they do a service for houses where they pop along every so often and top up the tanks sometimes a lot and other times just a few ltr.

But as you say i am in the build now and am lucky enough to be able to do this and was doing it anyway before the tax problems as the gen set is in the bows and needed a seporate tank and heating needs karasine.

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