A new greener form of petrol
will be available on forecourts this autumn under government plans to cut emissions — though the new fuel will drive up costs and may damage older cars.
The Department for Transport says that unleaded petrol blended with 10 per cent bioethanol — double the amount used at the moment — will be introduced in September. Bioethanol is made from materials such as crops and waste wood.
Estimates drawn up by officials suggest that E10 petrol could cut carbon dioxide emissions by 750,000 tones a year, the equivalent of taking 350,000 cars off the road However, the government has admitted drivers could end up having to pay for more fuel, because E10 unleaded has lower energy content than existing E5 petrol. An impact assessment into the plans published by the DfT suggested that it would push up petrol costs by 1.6 per cent, which would cost motorists an additional £200 million over the next decade. It also emerged that drivers of older cars would be unable to use E10. Figures from 2019 suggest there are about 700,000 cars registered prior to 2002, which should not fill up with the new fuel because it may damage seals, plastics and metals if used over long periods. To address the concerns, ministers will require petrol stations to retain E5, although it will become a “super-grade” fuel at the pump. That will mean additional expense for drivers of older cars. The same DfT impact assessment said the move would cost them £169 million between 2021 and 2030.The government said that it would introduce a new online vehicle registration checker that would allow drivers to find out if they could use the new petrol. Cars built since 2011 have routinely been required to be calibrated with E10, although most cars registered since 2002 can probably use it. Steve Gooding, the director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Many of the incompatible cars will be classics doing only a few miles per year, but a significant number will still be used on a daily basis as the family run-around. “It is vital that our government learns the lessons from the rollout of E10 on the Continent and makes every effort to encourage and enable drivers and riders to check whether their vehicles are compatible, and identify what they should do if not, rather than being faced with an unexpected shock when they turn up at their usual service station.
For More Information E10 petrol explained – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)