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  • On public roads

    A public road is a road that is available for use by members of the public. This includes toll roads, bus lanes and busways.

    You can claim fuel tax credits for fuel you use in a heavy vehicle on public roads. This includes using fuel for:

    If you use diesel in your heavy vehicle for travelling on public roads and it was manufactured before 1 January 1996, you need to meet an environmental criterion before you can claim fuel tax credits.

    For travelling on public roads

    Travelling begins when a vehicle starts to move and ends when it arrives at a destination, regardless of the distance. Fuel is used for travelling when it is used for:

    • propelling the vehicle along public roads, including stopping or idling (such as idling to keep within a schedule or at a layover on a public road) in the course of the journey
    • all aspects of the vehicle’s function that are for the vehicle’s operation, such as the use of lights, brakes, power-steering, windscreen wipers and powering the air-conditioning unit of the vehicle's main cabin when travelling.

    The fuel tax credit rate for fuel used in heavy vehicles for travelling on public roads is reduced by the road user charge (which is subject to change). The road user charge currently reduces any fuel tax credits to nil for gaseous fuels.

    When calculating fuel tax credits for fuel used when travelling on public roads, use the 'used in heavy vehicles for travelling on public roads' rate.

    See also:

    • Fuel tax credits rates – business
    • FTR 2008/1 Fuel tax: vehicle's travel on a public road that is incidental to the vehicle's main use and the road user charge
    • FTD 2016/1 Fuel tax: fuel tax credits - fuel used for idling and cabin air-conditioning of a vehicle on a public road

    Environmental criteria for heavy diesel vehicles

    When the environmental criteria does not apply

    You don't need to meet the environmental criteria if your heavy diesel vehicle is any of the following:

    • manufactured on or after 1 January 1996
    • a farm vehicle used primarily on an agricultural property in carrying out primary production business
    • not used on a public road, such as private roads or work sites.
    When the environmental criteria does apply

    If your heavy diesel vehicle was manufactured before 1 January 1996, it must meet one of the following criteria to claim fuel tax credits:

    • be registered in an audited maintenance program accredited by the Transport Secretary
    • meet Rule 147A of the Australian Vehicle Standards Rules 1999 (the 'DT80' test)
    • comply with a maintenance schedule endorsed by the Transport Secretary.

    If your heavy diesel vehicle was manufactured before 1 January 1996, but has been retrofitted with an engine manufactured on or after 1 January 1996, the engine must meet all of the following criteria:

    • be certified to the Australian Design Rule (ADR) 70/00 (or later) emission standard (currently ADR 80/00 or ADR 80/01)
    • be properly installed
    • retain all the original (or equivalent) components.

    The Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities provides more information about the environmental criteria.

    See also:

    Records you need to keep

    If your heavy vehicle was manufactured before 1 January 1996 you must be able to show that it has met an environmental criterion.

    Acceptable records include vehicle use and maintenance records, such as:

    • receipts or dockets for oil and replacement parts
    • mechanical invoices for servicing/repairs
    • maintenance schedule documentation
    • a DT80 test report from a registered test facility
    • a membership certificate or equivalent from an accredited audited maintenance program.

    If your vehicle is manufactured on or after 1 January 1996 you must be able to demonstrate this.

    See also:

    Movement along public roads

    Travelling does not include the movement of a vehicle undertaking road construction, maintenance or repair on the part of the road being constructed, maintained or repaired, such as by a grader or bulldozer.

    The fuel tax credit rate for this activity is not reduced by the road user charge. Use the rate for ‘All other business uses’ in the rates table.

    Vehicles are often engaged in both travel and other movement or activities as part of their operations. When claiming fuel tax credits, it is important you use the correct rate for each type of activity.

    See also:

    Next steps:

      Last modified: 30 Jan 2019QC 44648