Everything you need to know about… E10 petrol

E10 petrol is coming on the 1st of September, but what is it? And how can you make sure you’re filling up with the correct fuel?everything you need to know about e10 petrol

What changes are coming from September 1st?

From Wednesday 1st of September 2021, the standard for unleaded fuel will change from E5 to E10, bringing the UK in line with most of Europe, the US and Australia.

As petrol prices rise to the highest rate since 2013, you may have already seen some petrol pumps with E10 labelled, replacing E5 in many of the UK’s filling stations.

When the new rules come in, garages in England, Scotland and Wales will be required to sell E10 as their standard 95-octane grade unleaded petrol. Northern Ireland is expected to start rolling out new legislation in 2022.

These changes will only apply to the standard grade of petrol and will not affect diesel vehicles.

What is E10 petrol?

E10 petrol contains up to 10% renewable ethanol, which makes running vehicles slightly more sustainable. Before these changes, the standard petrol available (E5) contained up to just 5% renewable ethanol.

In simple terms, the new standard of petrol helps cut the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted from your car exhaust.

Government estimates suggest that the new measures could help cut CO2 emissions by 750,000 tonnes a year. This would be the same as taking 350,000 cars off the road.

But this won’t be ideal for everybody.

e10 petrol explained

Above: E10 and E5 fuels will be clearly labelled at filling stations

Is my vehicle compatible with E10 petrol?

The chances are, yes.

E10 is already widely used around the world and has been the standard for emissions testing on new vehicles since 2016. All new cars produced since 2011 are compatible with the new fuel, but those with particularly old or classic cars will find their vehicle is not recommended for E10. This also includes some mopeds under 50cc.

Newer vehicles manufactured since 2019 should have E10 and E5 labels displayed near the filler cap.

Importantly, using E10 (or filling up by accident) in a petrol vehicle that is not compatible will not necessarily harm the vehicle, but sustained use is not recommended. Unlike filling up with diesel by accident, you won’t need to get your tank drained if you use the wrong petrol. Just ensure you use the correct grade next time.

You can check if your car is compatible with E10 by using the government’s handy compatibility checker by clicking here.

While the new fuel should be compatible with newer equipment, it’s best to check compatibility on things like garden machinery or boats before switching. The government’s compatibility checker won’t be able to help you with this, so speak to the manufacturer or the retailer if you’re unsure.

Will E10 petrol be more expensive?

For those who have older vehicles that are not compatible with E10, filling up with the pricier E5 could bring an added expense.

Petrol prices at the pump aren’t expected to rise as a direct result of the switch, which will be a relief for motorists seeing the highest rates in 8 years. However the government’s latest figures suggest that drivers can expect to see a reduction of around 1% in fuel economy (or the relationship between the distance travelled and the fuel consumed). This is due to E10 being slightly less economical.

While a 1% reduction seems like a very small amount, this could add up to almost £20 on your yearly fuel spend given a mid-sized family car filling up twice a month.

However it’s important to note that there are lots of other factors that will have a bigger impact on your fuel economy, such as carrying unnecessary loads or driving with under-inflated tyres. The AA give some helpful advice on driving economically here.

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