The UK government’s campaign to lower carbon emissions could mean popular family cars may be incompatible with a new fuel that’s being rolled out. E10 fuel is a new type of biofuel that’s being billed as environmentally friendly. E10 is made up of 90% regular unleaded petrol and 10% ethanol. It’s produced through the fermentation of plants like corn, wheat, sugarcane and barley. The ethanol absorbs carbon dioxide, so it’s thought to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
E10 fuel can be used with modern cars, but there’s a fear that older vehicles wouldn’t be able to run on E10. The fuel is already being sold in France, Germany and Finland. We’re taking a closer look at E10 and why it’s being introduced to the UK.
Why is the government proposing E10?
The government is under increased pressure to meet targets for 10% of transport energy to come from renewable sources by 2020. Current fuel regulations mean ethanol could be anything up to 5% of the fuel that’s bought. The new targets means that ethanol needs to compromise 10%, meaning fuel could become more expensive.
Transport Minister Jesse Norman said “this government is ambitiously seeking to reduce the UK’s reliance on imported fossil fuels and cut carbon emissions from transport. But drivers of older vehicles should not be hit hard in the pocket as a result.”
What are the advantages and disadvantages of E10?
The main advantage of E10 is that it’s meant to be environmentally friendly. According to the environmental agency ePURE, fusing 10% of Europe’s petrol with ethanol through E10 would decrease carbon emissions by 6%.
Critics have argued that because E10 is produced from plants, it may increase deforestation. There has also been talk of E10 being less efficient than the current E5 grade fuel.
What cars could be affected by E10?
According to The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, 92.2% of vehicles will already be compatible with E10. The remaining 7.8%, roughly 1.5 million, are at risk. Research carried out by the RAC Foundation revealed the top ten cars that are incompatible with E10.
- Volkswagen Gold – 28,066
- MG MGB – 20,890
- Mazda MX-5 – 18,162
- Nissan Micra – 15,785
- Morris Minor – 12,796
- Rover 25 – 9897
- MG MGF – 9352
- Ford Escort – 8947
- Rover Mini – 7614
- MG TF – 7568