The Washington State Patrol is crisscrossing the state to crack
down on illegal use of dyed diesel. Officials say the state has
had enough of farmers and other offenders fueling their rigs with
red diesel in order to save 47.4 cents a gallon in state and federal
The Evergreen State reportedly loses an estimated $15 million to
$30 million a year from fuel-tax evasion. That money typically would
be used on road maintenance and construction.
The state police checked hundreds of trucks Aug. 20 as part of
an investigation by the agency's fuel tax-evasion unit. State police
seized records from a Franklin County farm accused of using the
tax-exempt fuel for non-farm uses.
Farmers are considered by the state to be the top violators of
red-diesel laws, followed by the construction industry and well-drillers.
Violators can be fined $1,000 per vehicle.
During a search of the Pasco-area farm last Tuesday, police carted
off fuel records dating back to January 1999. The records reportedly
will be used to determine whether the state will pursue civil fines
and unpaid taxes.
The State Patrol said it stopped six trucks from the farm for other
violations earlier this month and found they were using red diesel
illegally as they hauled harvest equipment for a custom-bailing