The Introduction of E10 Fuel in 2021

Fri Jun 2021

This summer the standard petrol grade in the United Kingdom will become E10, in a bid to reduce CO2 emissions and help tackle climate change. E5 petrol will still be available but in the form of a premium option at a higher cost.

Petrol in the UK currently contains 5% renewable ethanol (known as E5) whereas the new standard petrol will contain 10% (E10). E10 petrol is already widely used around the world, including the US, Australia and across Europe. Since 2016, it has also been the reference fuel used when testing new cars for emissions and performance.

Reducing emissions

CO2 is one of the major greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change and the main benefit of E10 petrol is that it reduces overall levels of CO2 emissions from vehicles.

Less fossil fuel is used to produce E10 by combining petrol with 10% renewable ethanol, which could potentially cut transport co2 emissions by 750.000 tonnes per year. This would be the equivalent of taking 350,000 cars off the road.

Compatibility

Around 95% of vehicles powered by petrol are compatible with E10 fuel. All new cars manufactured since 2011 are compatible, and most cars and motorcycles manufactured since the late 1990s are also approved by manufacturers to use the new standard petrol. However, according to the RAC, there are as any as 60,000 vehicles currently on the road not compatible.

E10 Challenges

Reacting to proposals to introduce E10 petrol in the UK, RAC fuel spokesman Simon Williams said:

“Everybody agrees that steps must be taken to reduce emissions from road transport, however introducing E10 as the standard petrol will pose some challenges. 

"Firstly, as the RAC Foundation points out, there could be as many as 600,000 vehicles on our roads that aren’t compatible with the fuel.

"Many of these are likely to be owned by those from lower income backgrounds and while it is welcome that E5 petrol is not being phased out altogether, owners of these vehicles will face higher fuel costs – and will also have to hunt out those forecourts that still sell E5.

"Some retailers will also not have the capacity to be able to provide both E5 and E10 fuels on forecourts, so the impact is likely to be most keenly felt by those with incompatible vehicles in rural areas.

"It is also vital that owners of affected vehicles are aware of the changes. We’d like to see the DVLA writing to these owners to inform them that E5 will no longer be the standard premium grade, and to let them know their options.

"This, alongside a trusted online resource where drivers can quickly identify if their vehicles are E10 compatible or not, will go a long way to avoiding any expensive problems from filling up wrongly with the new blend.

"For the overwhelming majority of drivers with compatible vehicles, the introduction of E10 petrol will make little difference other than a possible slight reduction in fuel economy."

What to do if your vehicle is not compatible

You can check compatibility here https://www.gov.uk/check-vehicle-e10-petrol.

If your vehicle isn’t compatible then E5 will still be available at many service stations, although it will be a ‘super’ grade at a higher cost. Accidentally filling up with E10 will not drastically damage your engine as a one-off but consistent use may cause harm and is not recommended.

E10 petrol is expected to begin appearing at UK forecourts in September 2021

 

 

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