A NEW biofuel is replacing regular unleaded petrol from September 2021.
Drivers across the UK have understandably been left with questions about how E10 – which contains 10 per cent ethanol – might affect their cars. We explain.
Can my car run on E10 fuel?
More than 95 per cent of petrol-powered cars currently on the road will be compatible with E10 fuel, so most drivers won't have anything to worry about.
The government has created an online tool to help you check if yours will run on the new, greener option at the pump.
All you need to do is put in the manufacturer and a list of models will come up.
This should tell you whether your vehicle is compatible or not.
But the site warns that it will not be liable for any damage to vehicles as a result of drivers using it, particularly if parts of the car have been replaced or modified.
As a simple rule, all cars made from 2011 onwards will be fine to use E10.
And most vehicles made after the late 1990s can run on it too.
But classic car owners and those that drive older vehicles will need to continue filling up with E5.
Mopeds and a small number of motors from the early 2000s also cannot use E10, so it is always best to check with your manufacturer if you are unsure.
Anyone who drives a diesel or electric car won't be impacted by the change.
How will the switch to E10 fuel affect my car?
Generally, the switch to E10 should be an easy one for the driver and the car.
However, it has been reported that E10 is a slightly less stable fuel which can make it more difficult to start a vehicle after a long period of inactivity.
Research by What Car? also revealed that E10 could potentially be less efficient than the current E5 blend of fuel.
And the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) claims vehicle fuel economy could decrease by about three per cent when using E10.
The UK government has also warned E10 could reduce the number of miles you are able to drive on a gallon of fuel, but estimates this to be around one per cent and "unlikely to be noticeable in everyday driving".
If true, drivers may need to fill up slightly more frequently, which would therefore drive up the cost.
The cost of the fuel itself will not be any more expensive, but it will increase the price of filling up for people with cars that are not compatible with it.
This is because motorists will have to opt for premium E5 petrol at the pump.
It has been estimated this could add up to £6.11 to the cost of a tank of fuel for more than half a million car owners.
In addition, E5 premium fuel may also be harder to find in rural locations, the RAC has warned.
But if your car is not compatible with the new fuel, then it could damage the engine.
Is E10 fuel bad for my car?
E10 has been tested and deemed a safe and reliable fuel.
It is already being used in countries around the world including France, Germany and Australia.
The new fuel is only considered somewhat "bad" for your car if it is used to fill up an incompatible one.
Will E10 damage my engine?
Using E10 in cars which are compatible with the fuel will not damage your engine.
Even filling up with it when your car isn't compatible shouldn't be too much of an issue if it's a one-off.
However, repeated use of E10 in incompatible vehicles could damage it over time as the extra ethanol can corrode certain metal parts and cause problems with other materials.
Deposits could become dislodged in older fuel systems and blockages might form.
The RAC has warned it could cause some pre-detonation – or 'pinking' – and a "little rough running and poor cold starting", but it shouldn't be a disaster.
And the official government states: "Unlike putting petrol into a diesel engine, you shouldn’t need to drain the tank.
"On a one-time basis, your vehicle will not suffer engine damage as a result.
"Prolonged use of E10 petrol in a non-compatible vehicle, however, may cause harm and is not recommended."
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