Legal requirement for an E5 ‘protection’ grade of petrol for engines that are not compatible with E10 extended for a further 3 years to the end of 2016

This DfT announcement was made on 29th August 2013 and is available on the DfT website.


Proposed amendment to the Motor Fuel Composition and Content Regulations 1999 - see the main consultation document. See page 4 of the document for how you can respond to the consultation. More

Motor Fuel Composition and Content Regulations 1999: extension of protection grade requirement impact assessment. More

Proposed amendment is aimed at extending the existing requirement for a protected grade of super unleaded petrol with an ethanol blend of no more than 5% to be available on the market. This current requirement expires at the end of 2013. The proposal is to extend this for a further three years to the 1st January 2017.

DfT consultation
The consultation period began on 29th August 2013 and will run until 27th September 2013. Please ensure that your response reaches the DfT by 27th September 2013. The Department considers that this 4 week period is sufficient because the consultation is targeted and because the amendment involves continuation of existing policy.

DfT consulatation invites responses to two questions:
Question 1:
Do you agree with our proposal to amend the Motor Fuel (Composition and Content) Regulations 1999 to extend the requirement for a protected grade of super unleaded petrol with an ethanol content of no more than 5% to be available on the market until 1st January 2017?
Question 2:
Do you have any comments on this proposal or the costs and benefits set out in the attached Impact Assessment (Annex A)?


Note: DfT estimates the number of non-compatible vehicles will fall from the current 1.6 million and 900,000 of unknown compatibility used as main means of transport to 780,000 in 2016 - that's in only only 3 years on! Let's hope a similar 51% of MGBGTV8s are not scrapped by 2016! Quite what the implication of "main means of transport" implies in that projection for classic cars, that are usually not driven as the owner's main means of transport but for fun, is not clear.

Source: news provided in an FBHVC news circular spotted by fellow V8 member Chris Hunt Cooke.

Posted: 130829

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The Department of Transport in the UK (DfT) says in a foreward to an open consultation it has launched that "the vast majority of the UK petrol fuelled vehicle fleet is compatible with E10 fuel (petrol with a 10% ethanol content), but there are still a significant number of vehicles - around 12% or 2.5 million cars - which are classified as non-compatible. The roll out of E10 is a commercial decision and it may be possible that in certain areas of the UK E10 will replace premium E5 grade petrol (petrol which contains no more than 5% ethanol). The
UK Government is proposing to extend the current legal requirement for a ‘protection’ grade - for engines that are not compatible with E10 petrol - for a further 3 years to the end of 2016. This will mitigate the risk of limited availability of an E5 grade fuel while there are still a significant number of non-compatible vehicles in circulation."

This announcement is of particular interest to MGV8 enthusiasts because a high proportion of those "non-compatible vehicles" are classic cars including the MGB and its derivatives like the MGBGTV8. By extending the current legal requirement for a protection grade beyond 2013 the UK Government will limit risks and minimise consumer costs. See the impact assessment. More

Most petrol stations in the UK offer two petrol grades: standard unleaded (known as premium), which represents 95% of sales and super unleaded. Both premium and super petrol grades currently marketed in the UK contain up to 5% ethanol (known as E5).

Regulation 3 of the Motor Fuel (Composition and Content) Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/3107) requires the ethanol content of super unleaded petrol sold at a filling station to be no more than 5% by volume. This requirement only applies to filling stations that have supplied not less than 3 million litres of fuel (petrol and diesel) in the previous year and is only applicable until the end of 2013.

This requirement was introduced in January 2010 by the Motor Fuel (Composition and Content) Amendment Regulations 2010 (SI 3035 / 2010) which implemented in part Directive 2009/30/EC. Article 1(3) of the Directive 2009/30/EC states:
“Member States shall require suppliers to ensure the placing on the market of petrol with a maximum oxygen content of 2,7 % and a maximum ethanol content of 5 % until 2013 and may require the placing on the market of such petrol for a longer period if they consider it necessary.”

However, in March 2013 a revised standard for petrol (EN 228) was approved by the British Standard Institute which increased the ethanol blend limit from 5% to 10%. This means that UK fuel suppliers can now start to supply blends with up to 10% ethanol (known as E10) should they choose so. E10 has already been introduced in some Member States, including France, Finland and Germany (E10 sales represent around 25-50% of total petrol supply).

The vast majority of UK petrol fleet is compatible with E10. Recent estimates by the Society of Vehicle Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) based on 2012 data show 88% of petrol cars to be E10 compatible. The remaining 12%, 2.5 million cars, were classified non-compatible (of which 1.6 million are known to be non-compatible and 900,000 of unknown compatibility).

Following Informal discussions with fuel suppliers we understand that for the time being there are no plans to introduce E10 on a large scale in the immediate future. Therefore unleaded E5 is expected to remain widely available.

However, the roll out of E10 is a commercial decision and it may be possible that in certain areas E10 will replace the premium E5 grade. The proposed measure of extending the current legal requirement for a protection grade beyond 2013 would mitigate the risk of limited availability of an E5 grade in the eventuality E10 is introduced while there are still a significant number of non-compatible vehicles in circulation.

The proposed amendment aims at extending the current requirement for further 3 years, expiring in January 2017. DfT estimates show that by 2016 the number of non-compatible vehicles used as main means of transport will decline to 780,000. In considering the suitable period of time for the extension we have taken into account of the free circulation provision contained in the Fuel Quality Directive (2009/30/EC).
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