E10 Petrol – Is your car ready?
When we visit fuel stations, we usually pick up the standard unleaded, fill up and go. But from September 2021 you may have to concentrate a little more on what you choose to put in your car.
Currently, owners of petrol cars have two options; premium unleaded (even though it is marketed as premium, it is standard petrol) or super unleaded. While stood waiting for your car to fill up and trying to not to baulk at the continuing rise in fuel prices, you may notice the following symbol:
This symbol represents the amount of renewable ethanol your petrol contains. In the UK, petrol currently contains up to 5% renewable ethanol (known as E5). From September 2021 the government is introducing E10 petrol, which contains up to 10% renewable ethanol. However you may already notice some petrol stations offering E10. The government calculates that the introduction of E10 could cut emissions from transport by 750,000 tonnes of CO2; the equivalent of taking 350,000 cars off the road.
What is Ethanol
Ethanol is a renewable fuel made from various plant materials collectively known as biomass. The most common plant material used is corn or sugarcane.
Though this move to E10 helps improve the country’s emissions output, it does not affect whether you are able to drive in or pay to enter clean air zones (CAZ), low emission zone (LEZ) or ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ).
Will your car be able to handle E10 and, if not, what is the alternative?
The government has stated that all cars manufactured after 2011 are compatible with E10. Most cars and motorcycles manufactured since the late 90’s are also approved by manufacturers to use E10. However, they have stated the following may not be compatible:
- Classic, cherished and older vehicles
- Some specific models, particularly those from the early 2000s
- Some mopeds, particularly those with an engine size of 50cc or under
The government has estimated that this will affect around 700,000 car owners whose cars are not compatible with E10 petrol.
Should you not be able to or not wish to use E10, then E5 will still be available but under the name of super unleaded and at a higher price.
So next time you fill up, make sure you know what you’re putting in the tank. If you are still unsure, check your car’s fuel cap as manufacturers add a label to ensure drivers know the correct fuel type to put into the car.