E10 Fuel

By Adele Barry
27-09-2021
Have you tried the new E10 fuel yet?

The new E10 fuel is now available at fuel courts but many motorists still do not know what it is.

Research by motoring group the RAC in August showed that one in four drivers do not know what E10 is. This is despite a huge marketing campaign run by the government back in June.

WHAT IS E10?

E10 is a blend of petrol and ethanol which is replacing the old E5 unleaded petrol.

It has 10% renewable ethanol mixed with low-grade grains, sugars and waste wood meaning it is more environmentally friendly.

The government has introduced the new fuel as part of its plan to reach net-zero by 2050.

It is hoping that it will cut transport CO2 emissions by 750,000 tonnes a year. The equivalent of removing 350,000 cars from UK roads.

Speaking ahead of the launch, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We’re going further and faster than ever to cut emissions from our roads, cleaning up our air as we accelerate towards a zero-emission transport future.

“Although more and more motorists are driving electric vehicles, there are steps we can take to reduce emissions from the millions of vehicles already on our roads – the small switch to E10 petrol will help drivers across the country reduce the environmental impact of every journey, as we build back greener.”

CAN ALL CARS USE E10?

The AA has urged drivers not to panic as the chances are their car will run fine on E10.

While E10 could damage some older cars, most motorists won’t need to switch to using super unleaded.

All petrol cars built after 2011 are compatible and most petrol cars built after 2001 will also be fine using it.

AA Technical specialist, Greg Carter says: “Over 95% of petrol cars in the UK can run perfectly well on E10, but some older models, classic cars and motorcycles shouldn’t use it.

“The extra bio-ethanol content can be more corrosive to older fuel system components, so drivers of older cars and motorcycles should check the Government website before heading to the pump.

“Petrol powered garden machinery and generators are also likely not to be compatible, so these should use super unleaded after September.

“If you do drive an incompatible vehicle and accidentally fill up with E10, don’t worry, just fill up with super unleaded next time. There’s no need to get it drained as it takes some time for any damage to occur.”

IS YOUR CAR COMPATIBLE?

The government has set up a free online E10 checker to see if your vehicle is compatible.

Find it here: https://www.gov.uk/check-vehicle-e10-petrol

RAC’s head of policy Nicholas Lyes added: “E10 petrol has already started appearing on forecourts to replace the old E5 blend, and that process will continue at pace in the coming weeks.

“But while the vast majority of drivers of petrol cars aren’t affected, a sizeable minority will be and the only way to be sure is to use the official online checker. Those that discover their cars aren’t compatible will unfortunately need to seek out and pay for a hefty premium for E5 super unleaded fuel instead. The cost of doing this could quickly add up for people who need to use their cars regularly, something our research shows all too plainly. Drivers who will continue to rely on E5 will also need to make sure the filling station their visiting stocks the fuel in the first place, or risk running out of fuel and having to call on their breakdown provider.

“We’d also like to remind owners of classic cars that need to be careful not to accidentally top up with E10 and then leave it sat unused in the tank for long periods, something which can lead to expensive damaged plastics, metals and seals.”

WILL IT COST MORE?

E10 will not be more expensive at the pump than current unleaded petrol.

There is a small chance it could affect fuel economy depending on which vehicle you drive.

Motoring groups say this will be minute, around the 1% mark so you are unlikely to notice a difference.

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