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Crime & Safety · Fuel Tax Evasion

Washington State imposes a tax on motor fuel (gasoline) and special fuel (diesel). Motor fuel is regulated under RCW 82.36 and Special Fuel is regulated under RCW 82.38. Any person who engages in activities with the intent to evade taxes imposed under these chapters is guilty of a felony. Fuel tax evasion is a crime!

Examples of Fuel Tax Evasion

  • Importing fuel from other jurisdictions without remitting the appropriate Washington State taxes
  • Blending taxable fuel with an untaxed product to increase volume
  • Using dyed (untaxed) fuel in a licensed vehicle

On January 1, 1999, Washington State moved to a taxing system that provided for fuel taxes to be collected at the point of distribution. This is commonly known as "tax at the rack." This taxing system closely follows the federal tax structure on fuel.

Impact of Fuel Tax Evasion

Washington State loses an estimated 15 to 30 million dollars per year from fuel tax evasion. This is money that could be available for a variety of transportation uses, such as road construction and maintenance. Also, businesses that evade fuel taxes significantly impact their competitors who are complying with the fuel tax laws.

Investigating Fuel Tax Evasion

Public awareness and involvement are essential in eliminating fuel tax evasion. A fuel tax evasion unit, comprised of personnel from the Washington State Patrol and the Department of Licensing, works to educate the public and industry, and to investigate suspected evasion and enforce the fuel tax laws.

The Fuel Task Force will vigorously pursue criminal and civil prosecution of fuel-tax evaders.

Reporting Fuel Tax Evasion

To report suspected fuel tax evasion, contact the WSP/DOL investigative unit at the telephone number or one of the addresses listed below. You may remain anonymous. If you leave your name and number, an investigator will call you back. All information given will be investigated and remain confidential.

Call 1-800-497-FUEL (1-800-497-3835)

Write to the WSP/DOL Fuel Tax Evasion Unit at,
or to their post office address:

CVD - Fuel Tax Evasion Unit
Washington State Patrol
PO Box 42614
Olympia WA 98504-2614

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