Future availability of "protection grade" E5 fuel for classics

What is the FBHVC?
The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) is a grouping of historic vehicle clubs and museums together with some trade and Individual Supporters.
FBHVC website

What is Viton?
Different compounds of Viton have been extensively tested in many current biofuels. Viton

Burlen SU using Viton
An example is an HIF Needle & Seat Kit. Viton 0.070"
Viton part

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

Posted: 190801
Recent press reports on the expected introduction of "cleaner E10 petrol" in the UK have made no mention of a lower ethanol alternative, known as the "protection grade", despite its widespread endorsement by the All-Party Historic Vehicle Group (APPHVG) at Westminster. The E10 fuel is so called because it has a 10% bioethanol content. The protection grade fuel is 97-octane E5 with the ethanol content limited to 5%.

Classic car enthusiasts' concerns over higher ethanol levels in petrol tend to focus on two main areas: technical issues and the future availability and price of lower ethanol petrol as a "protection grade" fuel available on forecourts in the UK:

Technical issues
These issues are reviewed by the FBHVC on its website:

> Damage to classic car components higher ethanol fuels can have on "original" engine and fuel supply components. Sensible upgrades like Viton rubber fuel hoses have been developed and are available to address them.

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Corrosion in classic car fuel systems because the long-term storage of petrol-ethanol mixtures (typically over a winter period with a classic car) tends to absorb moisture over time. A number of corrosion inhibitor additives which are effective at protecting fuel system metals have been identified and endorsed by the FBHVC.
> Combustion effects: whilst there is no evidence that the addition of ethanol to petrol directly affects combustion adversely, the addition of ethanol does have a leaning effect. Fuel mixture strength becomes slightly weaker, and this is particularly true for higher ethanol blends. Petrol containing 10% ethanol for example, would result in a mixture-leaning effect equivalent to 3.6%, which may be felt as a power loss, but also could contribute to slightly hotter running.

Future availability and price of lower ethanol petrol issues
Assurances over the future availability of "protection grade E5" from suppliers of bioethanol fuel seem to leave future scope for wriggle room. Statements like "we fully expect the DfT to to ensure the continued availability of E5 (as octane 97) grade fuel at UK forecourts alongside E10" and "whilst we appreciate the E5 97 octane is slightly more expensive than the E5 95 octane currently available . . . and the price differential between E10 95 and E5 95 would stay the same too - it's all down to refinery economics."

So two clear issues arise from that: the commercial case for having an E5 97 fuel pump on many forecourts and the price of that fuel will depend on the realities of customer demand, consequential sales revenues for fuel station operators, the logistics of delivering E5 97 to fuel stations and the commercial viability for a fuel station operator of having a pump set aside for E5 97.

For a typical classic car enthusiast, like an MGV8 owner doing between say 2,000 to 4,000 miles pa, the effect of a higher price for E5 97 of say 15p a litre could be between £38 and £76 pa.