E10 fuel: Drivers prepare for new petrol as experts weigh up environmental benefits

The new petrol is made of 10 percent bioethanol, as opposed to the current E5 petrol which is made of just five percent bioethanol. Almost all petrol-powered vehicles on the road today can use E10 petrol, with all cars built after 2011 being compatible.

The Department for Transport estimated that the introduction of E10 petrol at UK forecourts from today’s standard E5 could cut transport CO2 emissions by 750,000 tonnes a year.

This is the equivalent of taking 350,000 cars off the road.

The Government has made a renewed push towards lowering carbon emissions through the massive transportation decarbonisation plan (TDP).

A bulk of the TDP is aimed at phasing out polluting vehicles, with the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles coming in 2030, followed by a ban on hybrids in 2035.

READ MORE: Classic cars given warning over compatibility with new E10 petrol

Petrol and diesel heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) are set to be phased out in 2040.

A spokesperson for the UK Petroleum Industry Association (UKPIA) spoke about the future of petrol and how it could affect the environment.

They said: “The average UK biofuel CO2 emissions savings in 2019 were over 80 percent under the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation meaning that increasing the renewable fuel content of petrol will reduce overall CO2 emissions.

“It is also worth noting that renewable fuels added to UK petrol and diesel must meet the government’s sustainability criteria.


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“This works to ensure the most sustainable fuels are used, limiting or example those that compete with food crops.”

With E10 being the new standard bearer for unleaded fuel in the UK, some have questioned the feasibility of E15 or a higher concentration of bioethanol in petrol.

Currently, higher bio-oxygenated blend fuels such as E15 are restricted from being sold as petrol in the UK, although they are technically feasible.

The UKPIA states: “Updates to the law and the British Standard for petrol would be required to sell E15 as petrol which would require cross-industry agreement including the vehicle manufacturers.

“The carbon intensity of petrol can be lowered using other renewable blending components such as biopetrol and e-fuels.

“These can be blended into petrol under the existing law and British Standard.”

A number of countries already use higher bio-oxygenated blend fuels, including E15 in the USA, which has been approved for many newer built cars and can be found throughout the country.

Some countries even allow the use of E85 fuels including Sweden and France, with it being the most common type of petrol for alternative fuel vehicles in Sweden.

E85 is made up of just 15 percent petrol and 85 percent ethanol and is generally used in flex fuel vehicles, where they can use more than one type of petrol.

The highly concentrated petrol was briefly sold in the UK at a limited number of forecourts from 2006, however it was withdrawn some years later.

It was initially introduced by the supermarket chain Morrisons, with the company aiming to encourage the use of alternative fuels.

At the time a Morrisons spokesperson said they hoped to “contribute to a reduction in the harmful effects to the environment caused by the burning of fossil fuels.”

It is expected that E10 petrol will be released fully onto forecourts on the first of September, although a few drivers have already spotted the fuel early.

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