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How Does The UK’s New E10 Fuel Compare Globally?

3 min

With pumps up and down the country now serving greener E10 petrol, Quadrant Transport looks at how this change could cut transport emissions by 750,000 tonnes per year.

Fuel pumps across the UK are now greener due to the introduction of E10 as the new standard grade of petrol, Transport Secretary Grant Snapps announced today.

Replacing the previous E5 grade, E10 petrol is blended with up to 10% renewable ethanol and made up of materials such as low-grade grains, sugars, and waste wood, making it greener than existing fuel.

Over 95% of all petrol vehicles are compatible with E10, with the small number of older vehicles, including classic cars and some from the early 2000s, still able to access E5 petrol in the ‘Super’ grade.

The change is a step forward to achieving net-zero goals by 2050

The new fuel could cut transport CO2 emissions by 750,000 tonnes per year, which is the equivalent of taking 350,000 cars from UK roads. It comes as the next step for climate change goals as the country prepares to host COP26 this November.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Quadrant Transport: “Every journey matters as we drive forward the green industrial revolution, which is why the rollout of E10 is so important. It’ll help us cut road greenhouse gas emissions and meet our ambitious net-zero targets.”

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.

E10 will not be more expensive to purchase than standard petrol, although it could marginally impact fuel economy. However, this would generally be around 1% and be almost unnoticeable to most drivers when making everyday journeys.

The E10 rollout this month will also support the increased production of biofuels at bioethanol plants in the northeast of England. This aims to boost job opportunities in the local area, with the two big plants providing around 200 skilled jobs directly.

Although 10% ethanol fuel is a step forward for the UK, in 2018 Brazil increased their ethanol percentage to over 27.5%. Not only this but the pump price of ethanol was set at 64.5% of the price of regular fuel, allowing for sustainable, cheaper fuel with direct emissions up to 90% lower than those of gasoline or diesel.

Motorists are advised to use the Government’s free online E10 checker to see if their vehicle is compatible

Drivers can check to see if their vehicle is compatible here, with E5 petrol remaining available for the minority of older vehicles that aren’t compatible.

Edmund King OBE, AA president, also told Quadrant Transport: “This is a positive and simple step to help reduce the carbon impact from road transport. While many vehicles will be unaffected by the change, it is important for owners of older cars to use the Government’s vehicle checker to see if they can use E10.”

Even if E10 is put in a non-compliant vehicle, drivers should not panic and can simply put super unleaded in their tank at the next available opportunity.

The change will help to build a new green economy, revitalising industrial heartlands and supporting the UK’s wider bioeconomy as the government build back greener from the pandemic.

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