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Tax and Revenue Administration
Fuel Tax Act
Special Notice Vol. 1 No. 16

Released: June 17, 2003
Produced by: Alberta Treasury Board and Finance, Tax and Revenue Administration
For more information: tra.revenue@gov.ab.ca

Vol. 1 No. 16 / June 2003

NOTE: This information circular is intended to explain legislation and provide specific information. Every effort has been made to ensure the contents are accurate. However, if a discrepancy should occur in interpretation between this Information Circular and governing legislation, the legislation takes precedence.

Due to the Government of Alberta reorganization in 2012, where applicable, the web versions of our documents have been updated to change references from "Minister of Finance" to "President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance". The paper version of this document is available from Tax and Revenue Administration and if applicable, will be updated as time permits.


Tax and Revenue Administration (TRA) no longer supplies Dye Concentrate to fuel suppliers for marking tax-exempt fuel in Alberta. Fuel dye providers wishing to become authorized to supply fuel dye in Alberta and have their name included on our website must follow the following process.

The applicant must submit a one-litre sample of Dye Concentrate for testing to Alberta Innovates - Technology Futures, along with written consent to provide a copy of the test results directly to TRA. At the expense of the applicant, Alberta Innovates will verify that the Dye Concentrate meets the requirements outlined below. The estimated cost of the testing is $1000.00. Upon completion of the testing, Alberta Innovates will invoice the applicant. The Dye Concentrate sample should be sent to:

Alberta Innovates - Technology Futures
Attention: Susan Brown
250 Karl Clark Road
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6N 1E4

Upon receipt of the test results from Alberta Innovates confirming that the fuel dye specifications have been met, TRA will authorize the fuel dye provider to supply fuel dye in Alberta provided they continue to meet the specifications. A letter from TRA outlining the terms of the approval will be provided to all approved applicants. Applicants should inform TRA of all locations from which they plan to supply the Dye Concentrate in the province of Alberta. Each approved applicant's company name and contact information will be made available to fuel suppliers and posted on the TRA website.

The approval will be limited to the Dye Concentrate tested against the specifications in place at the time of the approval. Should the Dye Concentrate specifications change, TRA will provide all approved fuel dye providers with written notification of the change. Fuel dye providers must meet the revised Dye Concentrate specifications if they wish to continue to be authorized to supply fuel dye in the province of Alberta.

Random testing of the Dye Concentrate may be performed by TRA to verify that the Dye Concentrate being used continues to meet the specifications. Should the Dye Concentrate prove not to meet the specifications, authorization to supply fuel dye in Alberta will be cancelled. Fuel dye providers will be required to submit a sample of the Dye Concentrate to Alberta Innovates for testing, as described in the process above, for re-authorization to supply fuel dye in Alberta.

Fuel dye providers should note that approved fuel dye is NOT to be sold for any purpose other than identifying tax-exempt fuel.

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Dye concentration must:

  1. be a liquid mixture composed of the following final components:

    • Dyestuff where the primary components are pure Dyestuff and Dyestuff solvent, in concentration according to Dyestuff strength as defined in Table 2: and
    • Solvent:
  2. be dye Solvent Red 164;

  3. be furfural free and completely soluble in petroleum fuels;

  4. contain properties that will not change, will not form precipitate significantly and will not have phase separation occurring if stored for six (6) months under changing weather conditions, in outdoor storage, at varying altitudes and temperatures;

  5. not have a negative effect on equipment when the dyed fuel is used for heating or in internal combustion engines;

  6. be suitable for use in all types of internal combustion engines and turbines, as a solution in fuels (diesel and/or gasoline);

  7. pass through filters and not harm, cause damage to or constrict fuel tanks, liners, filters, carburetors, injectors, engines or any other engine associated equipment; and

  8. not impair engine performance.


"Dye Concentrate" means the concentrate mixture of Dyestuff and Solvent.
"Dyestuff" means the colouring agent of the Dye Concentrate.
"Solvent" means the organic solvent of a mixture of organic solvents of the Dye Concentrate (mainly aromatic solvents).

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Visual Detection:

Dyestuff content of the Dye Concentrate must be such as to allow for a minimum visual detection of 1/10 dilution of the fuel dyed to requirement (at 14 parts per million). A mixture made of one (1) part dyed fuel and nine (9) parts of similar undyed fuel must be such as to allow for easy visual detection of the Dyestuff. A light, yellow stove oil (not less than +15 on Saybolt chromometer scale, American Society for Testing and Materials [ASTM] ASTM D156) will be used as fuel oil for evaluation of dilution.

The applicant must ensure that all components of the Dye Concentrate comply with the specifications and the US Environmental Protection Agency requirements and, where applicable, are registered in accordance with Environmental Protection Legislation of Canada and its provinces. Proof of compliance is the responsibility of the applicant.

Click here for the US Environmental Protection Agency website, and click here for the Canadian Environmental Protection Legislation website.

Table 1
Technical Requirements of the Dye Concentrate

Physico-chemical Properties

Requirements Under Utilization

Reference Methods



As a Dye Concentrate
Ash weight % <0.02 ASTM D482
Density at 15 C kg/L Useful data Free
Moisture weight % <0.5 ASTM D1744 (a)
Insoluble matters weight % <0.2 QO-TEST-13 e
Flash point C >40 ASTM D93
Pour point C <-20 ASTM D97
Viscosity at 50C cSt Useful data ASTM D445
Viscosity at 25C cSt Useful data ASTM D445
LOT C <-20 ASTM D341

a) Karl-Fischer reagent for aldehyde and ketone recommended.

Table 2
Technical Requirements of the Dyestuff

Component Feature

Requirement (limit value) Reference Methods
Dyestuff strength 


> 0.640 QO-TEST-01 e

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Significance of Analysis Methods:

1) Ash (ASTM D482)

Small specimen of a sample is burned in a weighed container until all combustible matter has been consumed. The amount of unburnable residue is ash content, and it is reported as percent by weight of the sample. Low ash content leads to low deposit in heating devices. Measured in weight percentage (weight %). (See Table 1, Technical Requirements of the Dye Concentrate)

2) Density

Density is the weight per unit volume of the sample. Its principal use is to convert weights of Dye Concentrate to volumes or volumes to weights. Density is also required when calculating the volume of Dye Concentrate at a temperature different from that at which the original volume was measured. Measured in kilograms per litre (kg/L). (See Table 1, Technical Requirements of the Dye Concentrate)

3) Dyestuff Strength (QO-TEST-01 e)

Dyestuff strength is an indication of Dyestuff content in the Dye Concentrate. It is the net value of the spectrophotometric absorbency (colour intensity) of the Dyestuff. Measured in astronomical unit (AU). (See Table 2, Technical Requirements of the Dyestuff)

4) Flash Point (ASTM D93)

The flash point is the lowest temperature at which application of an ignition source causes the vapours of a specimen of a sample to ignite under specified conditions of test. In practice, flash point is important primarily from Dye Concentrate handling standpoint. A flash point too low will cause Dye Concentrate to be a fire hazard, subject to flashing and possible explosion. Measured in degrees Celsius (degrees C). (See Table 1, Technical Requirements of the Dye Concentrate)

5) Insoluble Matters (QO-TEST-13 e)

An insoluble matter is the measure of the tendency of Premix to form undesirable deposit, likely to plug the injector system at the coloration site. Measured in weight %. (See Table 1, Technical Requirements of the Dye Concentrate)

6) Lowest Operating Temperature ("LOT") (ASTM D341)

LOT is the temperature at which the viscosity of the Dye Concentrate has reached 280 centistokes (cSt). The calculation of LOT is useful only for Dye Concentrate used as a concentrate on the colouring site. The calculated value of LOT must never be lower than the pour point of the Dye Concentrate. Measured in degrees C. (See Table 1, Technical Requirements of the Dye Concentrate)

7) Moisture (ASTM D1744)

Moisture is an indication of water content of the Dye Concentrate that can cause injection problems at low temperature when water turns to ice crystals at the coloration site. Measured in weight %. (See Table 1, Technical Requirements of the Dye Concentrate)

8) Pour Point (ASTM D97)

The pour point is an indication of the lowest temperature at which a liquid sample can be pumped. Measured in degrees C. (See Table 1, Technical Requirements of the Dye Concentrate)

9) Viscosity (ASTM D445)

The kinematics viscosity is the resistance to flow of a fluid under gravity. The viscosity is important primarily because of its effect on handling of a liquid by pump and injector system. Viscosity increases with the lowering of the temperature. Measured in cSt. (See Table 1, Technical Requirements of the Dye Concentrate).

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