Numerous researchers have found that capillary vessel haematocrit depends on the vasodilatory state of the arterioles. At rest, vessel haematocrit is down to 15 %, suggesting a red blood cell velocity three times higher than the plasma velocity. This finding is analysed in the context of present understanding of propulsion of red blood cells (RBCs) and plasma by means of the arteriovenous pressure gradient. Interfacial forces between the red blood cells and the plasma are proposed as a rational explanation of the observed red blood cell velocities. While the arteriovenous pressure gradient across the capillaries propels the red blood cell and the plasma jointly, interfacial forces along the red blood cell membrane can propel RBCs at the cost of the plasma. Different options are explored for the physical origin of these interfacial forces and oxygen gradients are found to be the most probable source.