You may have seen in the news recently that a new petrol is being added to our fuel pumps across the country. E10 fuel is to now seen as the standard petrol available to drivers, but many are left confused by the change. Why have we changed? Will it cost me more to fill up on E10? What exactly is E10?
What is E10 petrol?
There’s actually only a small change between the petrol you are used to (E5) and the new version. E10 contains less carbon and more ethanol than E5, making it more friendly to the planet. Petrol in the UK comes in a mix of oil and ethanol and the number represents the percentage of ethanol included. Ethanol is a type of alcohol derived from plants including wheat and sugar beet.
Why has it changed?
E10 has come into play as a way to reduce the amount of fossil fuels needed to power cars. The DfT suggests that this new change could cut carbon emissions by 750,000 tonnes per year, the same as taking 350,000 cars off the road. This is part of the government plan to cut carbon emissions by 78% by 2035.
Will E10 work in my car?
Most likely, yes. E10 should work in every petrol vehicle built after 2011. Sadly, the RAC estimates that as many as 600,000 vehicles on the road that won’t be compatible with it. The government have set up a website where you can check if your car is suitable for this new fuel. But they have stated that they won’t be responsible for any damages, especially if the car has been fitted with replacement parts. This seems a bit ambiguous as most cars on the road have had something replaced at some point or another!
What to do if E10 isn’t compatible with my car?
You can still use E5, which is now classed as the performance fuel at pumps. The high-performance fuel that used to be available is no longer. It will be slightly more expensive to purchase, but only by around £6 more.
It’s worth noting that it’s not only our cars that use petrol. Many gardening machines such as lawnmowers and chainsaws etc. rely on petrol. The general consensus is to keep using E5 however, it is worth checking your manual or contacting your manufacturer to seek their advice.
If you do put E10 into your car, you don’t need to panic. It will still work but in the long run, it could cause damage. Classic car owners should be cautious as leaving E10 in the tank for a long time can cause damage to the surrounding plastics, rubber seals and metals.
Can you mix E5 with E10 petrol?
Yes, this shouldn’t be an issue. The RAC actually recommends that if you have an older vehicle and accidentally fill up with E10, to top up with E5 as soon as possible after using about a third of the tank.