The standard petrol on sale in the UK is now E10, but is your car compatible? Mike Brewer Motoring explains…
From 1 September, petrol pumps switched over to dispensing E10 fuel which contains up to ten percent bioethanol. Already widely used in Europe, it replaces E5 (which contained five percent ethanol) and is part of the UK’s aim of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The move is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by up to 750,000 tonnes a year, the equivalent of taking 350,000 cars off the road; that’s the same number as all the cars in North Yorkshire. Almost all cars made after 2011 are compatible with E10, with the Department for Transport saying that around ninety five percent of cars should be able to use it with no problems.
However, a number of manufacturers have said that engines fitted to some models won’t be able to use the new fuel – these include cars from Mercedes, Mazda, and the FSI units fitted to a number of Audis and VWs. In which case drivers can continue to use Super Unleaded petrol that remains as E5 and will be sold alongside E10, although it will mean that each fill-up is a little more expensive.
One downside of using E10 is that fuel consumption may increase slightly – by around one percent – but the Department for Transport say this will be offset by the reduction in CO2 emissions.
There’s also the matter of classic vehicles, with concerns having been raised over the risk the new fuel poses. Being more corrosive than E5, it can cause significant damage to components such as fuel pipes, carburettors and fuel tanks with the potential for leaks so owners should make regular checks if they plan to use E10. The alternative is to continue filling up with Super Unleaded or have the car’s fuel system overhauled, replacing components with those designed to cope with the higher bioethanol content.
If you own a classic and are worried by the switchover then owner’s clubs and specialists can provide advice. As for modern cars, there’s a good chance that yours will be able to use E10 without any problems but we’d advise checking to be sure by visiting the Government website at www.gov.uk/check-vehicle-e10-petrol.
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