Following on from my feature on the 4th March 2020, The Government are pushing ahead with plans to move to E10 fuel through the Summer of 2021.
Here is my original feature updated with more info.
-Garry Llewellyn, The Silver Hedgehog
Sounds boring should I read this?
I would say yes, this proposal impacts both the environment and your pocket.
What Is E10 Petrol
Currently the unleaded petrol we use currently contains up to 5% bio-ethanol, you may have seen the E5 round sticker that has started to appear on petrol pumps.
The government want to change this mix so that petrol contains up to 10% bioethanol. This will be known as E10 fuel.
What is Bioethanol?
Bioethanol fuel is mainly produced by the sugar fermentation process. Crops such as sugar beet, corn, maize and wheat are grown for energy use and turned into alcohol for fuel. It is renewable and cleaner than fossil fuels.
Ethanol fuel is said to be partially carbon-neutral. The plants reportedly absorb more carbon dioxide than what will be released into the air during use.
Why is the government changing the Petrol?
The government has some rather strict emissions targets to hit over the next few years. These are laid down in law with tough penalties for breaches. The government say…
“Using bioethanol in place of fossil fuels can reduce CO2 emissions by around 65% for an equivalent volume of fossil fuel. As a result, increasing the proportion of bioethanol in petrol from 5 to 10% could reduce CO2 emissions of a vehicle by around 2%. While this is a relatively small difference for any given vehicle, if combined with an increase in RTFO targets, it could reduce CO2 emissions from road transport by a further 750,000 tonnes per year. This would be the equivalent of taking around 350,000 cars off the road.”
Will it work in my car?
This depends on your cars age. Generally, most cars built since around 2002 will need no modification, and pretty much all fuel injected cars will run on the fuel. If you have a recent car, check the filler cap for the E5 / E10 logo. IF your car is older then it’s best to check the governments E10 checker tool online.
The government and various consumer groups such as the RAC foundation have concerns that older cars that either would not run the fuel or suffer from the corrosive properties of ethanol.
“Currently, there are around 700,000 petrol cars in use in the UK that are not approved for use with E10 fuel (around 3% of total cars). Around half of these are day-to-day use vehicles that will eventually come to the end of their lifetime and be scrapped. However, there will always remain some classic and cherished vehicles in the car fleet that are not advised to use E10″
UK Government statement
What is the government doing?
The government is changing our Petrol fuel options as follows
The formula for normal standard grade unleaded petrol is being rebranded and the formula will change. From September the cheapest fuel option will be known as E10 and may still carry company branding such as Shell Fuel Save or Esso Synergy. As noted above this new grade will contain 10% Ethanol. Those with older cars and items with small engines such as lawnmowers are discouraged from using this fuel.
The current higher grade fuel (brands such as Shell V-Power or Esso Synergy+) 97-99 octane, will still be sold as it has environmental benefits and also importantly it will work perfectly well in all petrol engines despite age or type. The government say this fuel does not have to contain ethanol and will need to be branded E5. This fuel is also approx. 10p more per litre.
Petrol forecourts will be able to sell both fuel types. Small petrol stations such as remote ones may only sell the more expensive E5 ‘Premium’ fuel.
In addition to more expensive fuel, news outlets are reporting that the E10 fuel has less energy value (due to the ethanol). This means using E10 fuel will provide slightly less MPGs and as more top ups will be needed, costs will rise.
“Based on a direct relationship between energy and mileage, 1.7% more litres of E10 are required to drive a given distance compared to E5”