Drivers are being warned to expect far colder temperatures in the coming weeks and months, which could lead to plenty of breakdowns on the roads. In colder temperatures, condensation occurs when water vapour comes in contact with a hot surface, potentially spelling trouble for petrol cars.
This can sometimes occur in the fuel tank, as any space not filled up with fuel will be taken up by air containing water vapour.
Dr Dan Clarke, Global Head of Science and Technology at SulNOx Group Plc, warned of potential fuel issues if motorists are using E10 fuel this winter.
He said: “The main problem is that the additional bio-ethanol content in E10 prefers to mix with water as opposed to petrol.
“Where there is sufficient of both, it leaves the petrol and combines with the water to form a separate layer at the bottom of the fuel tank.
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E10 fuel was introduced to forecourts at the beginning of September and replaced E5 as the standard grade of unleaded petrol.
It is seen as a “greener” fuel compared to E5, given that it is blended with up to 10 percent renewable ethanol and made of materials such as sugars and waste wood.
There were concerns over the number of cars which were incompatible with the petrol, although the Government reassured drivers that E5 would still be available at most forecourts.
Ben Richardson, CEO of SulNOx Group Plc, added: “Although the rollout of E10 is a step forward towards decarbonisation, the issues with the alcohol combining with water is effectively like producing vodka in the fuel tank.
“With SulNOxEco Petrol Conditioner we not only offer immediate protection from the water and corrosion issues of E10, but also offer significantly more reductions in emissions by up to 30 percent, save consumers money and improve their mileage by making fuel burn more efficiently.”
The RAC are also warning that drivers could see “engine hesitation” this winter if there is an issue with the fuel system, or even if they are low on petrol.
If the car is running very low on petrol or diesel, it could have disturbed some sediment in the tank and sucked it past the fuel filter.
This could cause a small blockage, which is why drivers are urged to keep their fuel tanks above half full in the colder months.
They also warn that car fuel systems can become contaminated with water, and with the cold weather, it can freeze, preventing the engine from running altogether.
The issue is most acute in the fuel lines, which feed the individual injectors.
These are very narrow and can be blocked by tiny ice particles, starving the engine of fuel.
Recent weather reports have shown that drivers in the UK may see snow in the coming weeks and months.