As the impact of global warming becomes more apparent, the vehicle industry and governments across the world look to introduce new legislation to limit the number of greenhouse gas emissions produced.
Over the course of summer and autumn 2021, premium fuel in the UK will be changing from E5 to E10 as part of these measures.
E5 petrol contains up to 5% renewable ethanol, which is added to reduce overall carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. This percentage is set to rise to a maximum of 10% in an effort to combat the impact of fossil fuels on the environment.
E10 fuel will be compatible with the majority of petrol-engined vehicles driven on British roads today, and all petrol cars manufactured since 2011.
For drivers concerned about how this will impact their driving and the availability of legal petrol for their vehicle, this guide will provide answers to what e10 fuel is and how it can be purchased.
What is E10 fuel?
E10 fuel is being rolled out across Great Britain in an effort to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and ‘greenify’ our driving habits.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said on the rollout:
“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.”
E10 petrol contains up to twice as much renewable ethanol as the current E5 fuel. It is already used widely around the world, including in countries across Europe, the United States and Australia. E10 fuel production and distribution has largely been a success in these regions.
Cars built since 2016 have been tested for emissions and performance using this fuel.
How do you know if your car is approved for E10?
It’s estimated around 5% of vehicles are not pre-approved for this new eco-friendly fuel.
Cars registered prior to and produced in the 1990s are the primary makes and models not approved for E10 fuel.
To check your car is approved for E10 fuel you can consult your local car dealer, the vehicle manufacturer or local garage. You can also visit this .GOV page.
How does this affect me?
As a driver of a petrol-engined car, you may be wondering how this change affects both your daily usage of your vehicle and its long-term future.
The key takeaways on these changes that drivers should be aware of include:
- Newly produced cars and designated petrol pumps at stations will be marked with labels to signal E10 compatibility
- New cars produced after 2011 are pre-approved to use E10 petrol. These vehicles may already have an E10 label on their petrol cap
- Classic car models may not be compatible
Ultimate, very little will change for most drivers of regular, petrol-powered vehicles. The majority of cars sold within the last three decades will see a seamless changeover, allowing regular drivers everything to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
What if I drive a diesel?
These changes apply to petrol vehicles only. Unlike regular unleaded petrol, diesel fuel will not be changing.
What if I fill up with E10 by mistake?
No need to panic! Engines that aren’t compatible with E10 fuel will not sustain significant damage from the short term use of the new fuel.
Simply fill up with E5 once you have room in the tank and continue to use the correct fuel for subsequent refills.
Unlike filling a petrol vehicle with diesel, or vice versa, there is no need to have the fuel drained.
Will you still be able to buy E5 unleaded?
E10 petrol will become the standard in stations across Great Britain, with hopes to roll it out fully throughout the year.
Petrol stations that offer two grades of petrol will stock both E10 petrol and E5 petrol.
However, E5 will remain available at stations stocking two grades of petrol.
Some rural stations may continue to only sell one of the other as standard.
When will E10 petrol be introduced?
E10 fuel is set to be officially introduced in Britain from September 2021.
Expect a slow roll-out though! Not all petrol stations are expected to stock E10 fuel straight away.
Northern Ireland will see the fuel introduced for purchase from early 2022, subject to legislative approval.
What if I drive a specialist vehicle?
Owners should contact car manufacturers if they are in any way concerned their vehicle won’t be compatible with E10 fuel. However, this fuel has been designed to work with the vast majority of UK street-legal vehicles.
Should I adapt my driving style using E10?
Whether you drive on E10 or any other fuel, you should always adopt a driving style that saves fuel.
For those worried about vehicle fuel economy, there have been suggestions that E10 fuel is less efficient than E5 fuel, which may result in a higher annual fuel bill for drivers.
Is E10 petrol a less stable fuel?
Other than the 10% renewable ethanol, E10 fuel has the same makeup as E5 fuel.
What is E10 petrol impact on carbon emissions?
Studies have found E10 fuel produced under Australian conditions has between 2 to 5% lower CO2 emissions than regular unleaded petrol.