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Is E10, the new 'green petrol', suitable for your car?

Petrol containing 10 per cent bio ethanol is now the standard unleaded – here's how to know if your car is compatible and what this means for you and your car.

Firstly, you can check your car’s compatibility with E10 fuel at the Government's online checker HERE.


What does this mean?

As of September 1, the standard grade of petrol in Great Britain is E10, prior to this, regular unleaded was E5 although E10 has been on sale for some time in the UK and more particularly in Europe.


Why has E10 been introduced?

The extra bioethanol in E10 comes from crops, which absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) as they grow. It’s estimated switching to E10 equates to a two-per-cent reduction in CO2 per car, with the Department for Transport (DfT) expecting E10 to cut UK CO2 emissions by 750,000 tonnes a year, equivalent to taking 350,000 cars off the road.


Can my car run on E10?

New cars built from 2011 have to be compatible, and most firms were way ahead of the legislation. But the DfT estimates 700,000 UK cars are incompatible with E10 due to its higher ethanol content potentially damaging rubber, alloy and plastic parts. The RAC Foundation estimates around 28,000 older VW Golfs and 18,000 Mazda MX-5s can’t use E10, for example. Go to the DfT’s compatibility checker HERE.  if you’re concerned.


What do I do if my car can’t use E10?

E5 will still be offered in the form of super-unleaded from 1 September. People with incompatible cars should use super-unleaded, although this brings extra costs. Protective additives are also available.


What happens if my car can’t run on E10 but I fill up with it by mistake?

Cars that can’t use E10 should still run, but the extra solvents in the fuel can cause damage to fuel pumps, lines and carburettors, especially in the long term.


Will E10 petrol cost more?

E10 petrol will not be any more expensive than the E5 unleaded fuel it's replacing but it will increase the cost of filling up for owners of those cars that can't use E10 because they will be forced to use super unleaded fuel which will be remain E5.


Will my car use more fuel on E10?

The DfT says using E10 petrol can “slightly reduce” fuel economy, but only by around one per cent.


Does E10 reduce tailpipe CO2?

There may be a slight reduction, but this is likely to be offset by any increase in fuel consumption. The real CO2 savings come from the crops grown for the fuel.


What is ethanol?

Ethanol is a form of alcohol, and the ethanol in E5 and E10 petrol is bioethanol, meaning it is a renewable fuel derived from growing and fermenting crops such as sugar, wheat and maize. Increasing the ethanol content in petrol brings a reduction in carbon dioxide because ethanol produces less CO2 than petrol when burnt, and because the crops grown to produce it absorb CO2 from the atmosphere.


Additional information from the DfT can be found below:

Fuelling a greener future – E10 petrol available at pumps from today

E10 petrol explained


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24 September 2021