Understanding the E10 petrol change in the UK
The new E10 fuel was introduced as the standard type of petrol in the UK in September 2021.
When you next head to the station forecourt to put fuel into your car, this is now the default choice of petrol available to buy and use.
But, what is E10 petrol, and how will it affect your car?
More importantly, is your car compatible with E10 petrol?
What is the new E10 petrol?
The new E10 petrol is 90% unleaded petrol with 10% of ethanol.
This is double the amount of ethanol than the previous standard petrol grade, E5, which has 5% renewable ethanol. Because E10 petrol has 10% of ethanol, less fossil fuel is needed and so carbon dioxide emissions are reduced.
E10 petrol isn’t completely new, though. It’s been widely available around the world, and closer to home in Europe, for years. It’s now being rolled out across the UK as the standard grade of petrol, though this currently applies in England, Scotland and Wales. E10 is scheduled to become the standard petrol grade in Northern Ireland in 2022.
Will using E10 petrol make that much of a difference to the environment?
Using E10 petrol could cut transport emissions by 750,000 tonnes a year, according to the Department for Transport (DfT).
To put it a different way, that works out as having 350,000 fewer vehicles on UK roads – just from making the simple change of putting a different grade of petrol into your car.
Is E10 petrol okay for my car?
The DfT has stated that ‘around 95%’ of petrol cars will be compatible with E10 fuel.
Whether your car is compatible with E10 petrol is the big question for motorists, and the most important factor to consider. There could be around 5% of petrol cars in the UK that can’t use E10 petrol.
The general rule is that all new cars made since 2011 should be compatible with E10 petrol, and many models older than that will also be fine. However, it’s always worth checking before you fill up with E10.
The E10 vehicle checker tool is free to use on gov.uk and is available here.
What if my car can’t use E10 petrol?
If your car can’t use E10 petrol, you can continue to use E5 petrol.
E5 petrol should still be available as a ‘super unleaded’ fuel in some stations.
It’s also worth emphasising that if you have a diesel car, you should continue to use diesel.
E10 fuel is for petrol cars only.
Will E10 petrol cause damage to my car if I use it by mistake?
Using E10 petrol in an incompatible vehicle shouldn’t cause any engine damage to your car if you use it in error, though continued long-term use is not recommended.
Filling up with the wrong kind of fuel is an easy mistake to make, but if you accidentally fill your car with E10 petrol when it’s not compatible with it, don’t panic.
You might notice a slight impact in driving performance but nothing more substantial. Just fill up with E5 petrol the next time you need to re-fuel.
You should avoid using E10 petrol regularly if your car is not compatible, though.
Can you mix E10 with E5 and petrol?
You can mix E10 and E5 petrol without any major issues. Your car should still function if you usually use E10 and add E5 by mistake, or vice versa, or if there is no E10 petrol available and you need to use E5 instead.
Will E10 petrol be more expensive for drivers?
Officially, the price of E10 petrol shouldn’t cost more at the pumps than the standard grade of petrol in recent years. Fuel economy on E10 may reduce very slightly though – around 1% – so running costs could be marginally higher.
For further information, contact your nearest branch. Use our Branch Locator to find your closest Group dealership.