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A step to a greener future: E10 Petrol ready for 2021 

2 min

C. David McAughtry. Flikr

The Department for Transport has announced that a new petrol blend (E10) will be available across the UK by Septemeber 2021. Quadrant Transport looks into the impact of this new blend of petrol and whether it goes far enough towards 2050 net-zero goals. 

This introduction of E10 is a blend of petrol and 10% ethanol. Current blends only reach up to 5% of ethanol (E5). The ethanol will be made from materials such as low-grade grains, sugars and waste wood. It is hoped these materials will boost the Governments net-zero goals. 

Increasing the levels of ethanol in petrol by 5% has huge implications on CO2 emissions. In 2019, transport contributed to 28% of the UK’s domestic emissions. This was an increase of 4% higher than in 2013. 

Emission reduction boosts 2050 hopes

With this in mind, the new fuel is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 750,000 tonnes a year. This is the equivalent of removing 350,000 cars off the road. 

While E10 will be widely used across transport, there are some cars that won’t be able to use the fuel. This includes classic cars and cars that were made in the early 2000s. The development alongside the rise of EV cars is a positive move towards reducing car emissions. 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps explained: “Although more and more motorists are driving electric vehicles, there are steps we can take to reduce emissions from the millions of vehicles already on our roads – the small switch to E10 petrol will help drivers across the country reduce the environmental impact of every journey, as we build back greener.”

Additionally, the use of bioethanol is hoped to create up to 100 jobs in the North East as AB Sugar’s Vivergo plant is set to reopen.

10% of car journeys are less than a mile

Although reducing CO2 emissions from new forms of petrol is a positive move there are calls for more to be done to get people out of cars and on to other forms of transport and to encourage walking and cycling. 

These calls stem from the ONS findings that 10% of all car journeys are less than a mile and 15% are between 1-2 miles. 

It is clear that while the reduction of 750,000 tonnes of CO2 each year is positive, it is imperative that other policies are attached to this to ensure the UK can meet its ambitious 2050 net-zero targets.