Beta This part of GOV.UK is being rebuilt – find out what this means

HMRC internal manual

Oils Technical Manual

From
HM Revenue & Customs
Updated
, see all updates

Technical Background on Oils: Definitions of mineral (hydrocarbon) oil

Introduction

It is important to note that there are differences between the definitions of oils for customs and for excise purposes.

Oils may be classified for customs duty at import from outside the EU or on release from a customs warehouse. They are classified separately for excise duty on removal from an oil producer’s premises or oil warehouse to home use.

  • The customs definitions for oils to be used at import or on release are given in the Tariff Volume 2 as the Additional Notes to Chapter 27.
  • The excise definitions for oils are given in the Tariff, Volume 1, paragraph 12.12.

Oil imported to the UK from outside the EU may attract both customs and excise duties.

Definitions of Mineral (Hydrocarbon) Oil

Excise Definition Customs Definition
   
(a) Light oil  
HCO of which not less than 90% by volume distils at a temperature not exceeding 210ºC or which gives off an inflammable vapour at a temperature of less than 23ºC. (a) Light oil
HCO of which not less than 90% by volume distils at a temperature not exceeding 210ºC or which gives off an inflammable vapour at a temperature of less than 23ºC.    
    (b) Special spirits
Means light oils as defined in paragraph (a) above, not containing any anti-knock preparations, and with a difference of not more than 60ºC between the temperature at which 5% and 90% distil by volume.    
    (c) White spirit
Means special spirits as defined in paragraph (b) above with a flashpoint higher than 21ºC by the Abel-Pensky method  
  (b) Heavy oil
Means HCO other than light oil (d) Medium oil

Means oils and preparations of which less than 90% by volume distils at 210ºC and 65% or more by volume at 250ºC.

NB Customs has kerosene here - undefined.    
    (e) Heavy oil
Means oils and preparations of which less than 65% by volume distil at 250ºC or of which the distillation percentage at 250°C cannot be determined by that method.  
  (c) Gas oil
Means heavy oil of which not more than 50% by volume distils at a temperature not exceeding 240ºC and of which more than 50% by volume distils at a temperature not exceeding 340ºC. (f) Gas oil
Means heavy oils as defined in paragraph (e) above of which 85% or more by volume distils at 350ºC.  
  (d) Kerosene
Means heavy oil of which more than 50% by volume distils at a temperature not exceeding 240ºC.  
  (e) Fuel oil
Means heavy oil which either - contains in solution an amount of hard asphalt of not less than 0.5%; or contains in solution an amount of hard asphalt of not less than 0.1% and has a closed flashpoint which does not exceed 150ºC (g) Fuel oil
Means heavy oil as defined in paragraph (e) above ( other than gas oils as defined in paragraph (f) above ) which for a corresponding diluted colour C, have a viscosity V.