Published on: 04/09/2021
New to the wheel? Confused about E10 and E5? E-10 fuel – you’ve heard all about it, but do you know what it is and how it could affect your vehicle?
What is E10?
E10 is a petroleum fuel that is now the standard grade fuel across the country. It is more renewable, greener and helps to cut down the CO2 emissions from your vehicle. It is also expected that E10 petrol will be cheaper than the current E5 petrol by around 0.2 pence per litre.
The government have issued a warning, however, that E10 preserves less energy than E5 and therefore it is likely that you will find yourself topping your vehicle up more regularly. The government have highlighted that driving with under-inflated tyres or with a roof rack fitted to your car, will have more of a significant impact on your fuel top ups than E10 will.
Until now E5 petrol in the UK has contained up to 5% bioethanol, which means 5% of the mix is produced from crops and wood waste – which are renewable sources. E10 means that 10% of the fuel is renewable, which makes it more environmentally friendly.
There are some vehicles that cannot use E10 petrol, however.
Is E10 made for my vehicle?
Not every vehicle can use E10 fuel and in fact, it is incompatible with as many as 600,000 vehicles, including classic vehicles, specific models of vehicles from the early 2000’s and some mopeds under 50cc. The good news is that all cars manufactured after 2011 are compatible with E10 petrol.
It is recommended that you check whether your vehicle can use E10 fuel. Checking is quick and easy, and not checking whether your vehicle can have E10 fuel means risking putting the wrong fuel into your vehicle, and consequently shortening your vehicle’s engine life along with that of other components.
To check, simply head over to the GOV.UK E10 online checker here.
If you are still unsure on whether your vehicle can use E10 petrol or not, there are some further simple checks you can do. You can:
- Check your vehicle owner’s manual, as the instruction booklet is specific to your vehicle
- Look inside the fuel filler cap (as shown below)
- Contact your vehicle manufacturer
If you are still unsure, E5 will still be available at most filling stations.
It goes without saying, but E10 fuel is not compatible with diesel engines or electric vehicles.
What if I use E10 and I Shouldn’t Have?
If your vehicle cannot use E10 fuel, simply stick to E5. However, we all know that sometimes slip ups can happen and that people put the wrong fuel in more frequently than imagined – so will this mistake affect your vehicle? Can you use E10 fuel even if your vehicle is not on the approved E10 list?
In short, using E10 fuel in your vehicle that is not compatible with E10 is not the end of the world. There is no disastrous consequence like if you put diesel into a petrol vehicle, and you do not need to request an engine drain
So, if your vehicle is not compatible with E10, yet can run off E10, why can you not use it? The answer is simple: older vehicles have older fuel systems and using E10 fuel for prolonged periods of time will damage the vehicle significantly. Continuing to use E10 whilst it is advised that your car should not use it, could damage your seals, plastics, metals in the fuel system and could make it harder for your vehicle to start. You will also risk having condensation in your fuel tank, and the strong dose of ethanol could eat through the aged rubber pipes in your vehicles fuel lines.
If your vehicle cannot use E10, don’t use E10. E5 fuel will still be available.
Of course, if you use other petrol appliances such as a lawn mower, ring the manufacturer to see whether your appliance can use E10 or not. The same applies to boats and some aircrafts too.
If you use E10 petrol continuously to the point in which your car breaks down, the Mirror have investigated and found that 46% of car insurance policies will not pay out any repair costs caused by mis-fuelling your car.
If you wish for you vehicle to run on E10 but it is not compatible and you do not want long term damage, you will have to change components in your car. You would have to get rid of your fibreglass petrol tank and replace it with an aluminium one. Furthermore, ethanol does not like solder, so if you run a solder float in your carburettor it is advised you carry a spare as it is easy to change. Of course, these are not the only changes you would have to make to your car as E10 will eat your rubber lining and damage your seals, so you would still risk water in the fuel tank.
When will E10 be available?
E10 is expected to roll out in the UK in September 2021. Northern Ireland can be expected to have E10 introduced in early 2022.
Be sure to check whether your vehicle is E10 compatible here.
More about Trust My Garage
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