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E10 petrol changes, one week on

We looked at E10 in a previous post, which you can access here. In that post, we looked at, what is E10 fuel, why E10 is different, whether your car could use it, and the benefits of the switch to E10.

In this post, we look at the more practical effects of the switch to E10. In the run-up to introducing E10, the focus was mainly on which cars wouldn't run on the new grade of unleaded. However, there are several other issues at hand.

The switch to E10 is primarily a move to a more environmentally fuel. Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, commented that the introduction of E10 was part of a more significant move towards Net Zero; "Although more and more drivers are switching to electric, there are steps we can take today to reduce emissions from the millions of vehicles already on our roads – the small switch to E10 petrol will reduce greenhouse gas emissions as we accelerate towards a greener transport future."

The move has undoubtedly had a more significant initial impact on the fuel retailers than on their customers. Getting the change of grade in place for the retail market is a substantial logistical project and one that all retailers and suppliers have achieved before the deadline of 1st September.

The Impact of E10 on consumers

Now that E10 is in place, the impact on the consumer will become more apparent in three main areas:

First, the retail price of the new E10 is unchanged from the equivalent E5 price, although the government has said that the fuel will burn quicker than E5, with this change causing an estimated increase in the price of 0.2ppl. They have also stated that as the energy content of the fuel decreases, so motorists will have to buy more litres of fuel.

Second, as stated before, around 600,000 (or 2% of) petrol cars on the road will not run on E10. A general rule of thumb is that vehicles registered before 2002 may have difficulties running on E10, and owners of those vehicles should check the Government E10 online checker.

If you are unlucky enough to put E10 into a vehicle that should use E5, the consequences are not as dire as putting petrol in a diesel car or vice versa. The AA states that if you fill up with E10 by mistake, "…engines that aren't compatible with the fuel will not sustain any damage from short term use. Simply fill up with E5 (super) once there is room in the tank and continue to use the correct fuel on subsequent fill-ups. Unlike filling a petrol car with diesel (or vice-versa), there is no need to have the fuel drained."

Petrol lawnmower, changes to E10 fuel when using garden equipment

Third, petrol-powered lawnmowers and other garden equipment will not run on E10. Most garden equipment manufacturers recommend using E5 Super Unleaded or putting an additive in the new grade.

The Significance of E10

So far, the introduction of E10 has been low-key. A survey of 1,450 drivers around the time of the launch by the RAC found 27% of owners had not checked whether their car is compatible with the new E10 petrol, with 24% unaware that the new fuel was being introduced at all.

This launch is a significant step along the road to zero emissions. We have now caught up with 14 EU countries, with Germany and France introducing E10 over 10 years ago. Another important point to note is that E10 is available in England, Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland will introduce E10