Introduction of E10 motor fuel is not good news for classic cars

DfT open consultation on E10 petrol, consumer protection and fuel pump labelling
Launched today, the DfT says it is "seeking views on a range of issues related to renewable transport fuel supply in the UK". The consultation closes on 16th September 2018. GOV.UK consultation

DfT said in 2017 "no immediate plans to roll out E10 in the UK"
See our NEWS item released on 8th February 2017. More

See our biofuels "information gateway" with links to earlier news items and articles on the ethanol topic. More


Posted: 180720
The Department for Transport (DfT) has launched a consultation today on whether and how it should introduce E10 fuel to the UK market. E10 contains more bioethanol than traditional petrol. The DfT publicity says "this would help reduce carbon emissions from petrol vehicles, helping the UK meet its climate change targets". The Transport Minister Jesse Norman said: "this Government is ambitiously seeking to reduce the UK’s reliance on imported fossil fuels and cut carbon emissions from transport. But drivers of older vehicles should not be hit hard in the pocket as a result. We have launched this consultation in order to understand the impact of E10 on the UK market better, and to ensure that drivers are protected if any changes come into effect". GOV.UK consultation

The DfT news story goes on to say "the changes to the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RAFT) announced earlier this year require transport fuel suppliers to increase the amount of renewable fuel supplied across the UK up to 2032. To meet these new targets, fuel suppliers could choose to increase the percentage of bioethanol in petrol beyond the current 5% (E5) up to a limit of 10% (E10). Filling up with E10 fuel reduces the greenhouse gas emissions of a petrol vehicle by around 2%. However, according to industry figures, there could be around one million cars within the UK that are unsuitable for use with E10".
Around one million cars registered in the UK before 2000 could not use E10
In a report in the Times today it says "these cars include Rovers (91,600), MGs (75,800), VWs (61,400) and Nissans (55,100). Under the DfT plan motor fuel retailers would be expected to sell E10 alongside existing petrol which contains up to 5% ethanol. It raises the prospect of some larger fuel stations selling three types of petrol: E10, E5 and the more expensive high octane petrol usually with far lower levels of ethanol. Whilst expensive, many classic car enthusiasts do opt for the "super" grades with the general result of lower ethanol impact on the fuel systems. The DfT announcement does not suggest a start date for the new rules but says that E5 will be protected "beyond 20120", raising the prospect that E10 may be available by then.

Clearly many smaller filling stations around the UK will not have sufficient storage infrastructure or fuel pumps to offer motorists three grades of fuel on their forecourts. The continued availability of low ethanol fuels is essential for classic car enthusiasts so following this news item closely will be a concern for many.