What is E10 fuel?
HUNDREDS of thousands of drivers won't be able to use the new E10 petrol when it's introduced in September.
But what is E10 fuel?
What is E10 fuel?
E10 petrol contains up to 10% renewable ethanol, which will help to reduce CO2 emissions from petrol vehicles and help tackle climate change.
Petrol in the UK currently contains up to 5% renewable ethanol (known as E5).
E10 petrol is already widely used around the world, including across Europe, the US and Australia.
It has also been the reference fuel against which new cars are tested for emissions and performance since 2016.
What is ethanol?
Ethanol is an alcohol-based fuel produced from the fermentation of a range of plants, including sugarcane and grains, along with their by-products.
Unlike regular unleaded petrol, ethanol fuel is said to be partially atmospherically carbon-neutral.
This is because as the plants that will become biofuel grow, they reportedly absorb more carbon dioxide than what will be released into the air during fuel production and combustion1.
This partially offsets the greenhouse gas emissions produced by its production and use, but by just how much is still an active topic of debate.
Can E10 be used in all cars?
The short answer is no. As many as 600,000 vehicles on our roads in 2020 aren't compatible with E10 – you can see if your car is compatible with the new fuel by visiting the official E10 online checker.
Drivers are advised to contact car manufacturers with any questions surrounding their specific vehicle.
For example, Vauxhall says “E10 fuel can be used in all petrol-engine Vauxhall vehicles except models with the 2.2-litre direct-injection petrol engine (code Z22YH) used in Vectra, Signum and Zafira.”
As a rule, drivers of cars registered prior to 2002 are advised not to use E10 in their vehicle, as problems have been reported. And as of 2011, all new cars sold in the UK must be E10 compatible.
According to the RAC,if you put E10 fuel in an incompatible car it will still run, but seals, plastics and metals may be damaged over longer periods as a result of bioethanol's corrosive properties.
There have also been reports that E10 is a less stable fuel and that this can make it more difficult to start a vehicle that has not been driven for an extended period.
When will E10 be introduced?
The new type of fuel will become standard from September 1, replacing E5 petrol at forecourts across the UK.
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