Drivers demand E10 petrol to be ditched days before major changes

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E10 petrol, the new standard grade of unleaded, was first introduced in England, Scotland and Wales in September 2021, with Northern Ireland seeing the fuel on its forecourts on November 1. The petrol is blended with up to 10 percent renewable ethanol and will help Northern Ireland to decarbonise transport, as it is greener than existing petrol. 

It is hoped the “greener” fuel will cut carbon emissions in the country, as the Government looks to decarbonise transport across the UK.

When E10 was introduced in England, Scotland and Wales, E5 was upgraded to being the standard of super unleaded.

This meant that most fuel forecourts kept the fuel in the super unleaded form, in addition to E10 as the new standard grade of regular unleaded.

Around 95 percent of petrol cars are already compatible with E10 petrol, with the Government’s new campaign prompting drivers to use a fuel checker to see if their car can use it.

Before the introduction, the RAC warned that up to 600,000 cars would not be compatible with E10.

A small number of older vehicles, including classic cars and some from the early 2000s, will continue to need E5 fuel, which is why supplies of E5 petrol will be maintained in the “super” petrol grade. 

Many drivers compared the difference between E5 and E10 petrol, weighing up the cost differences to the fuel economy.

One commenter said: “My car did 56mpg local and 69mpg on a run prior to E10.

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“Now it does 44mpg local and 53mpg on a run.”

Another, Stanb, claimed: “If you want to lose efficiency and less miles per gallon, use E10. 

“If you want engine efficiency and more miles per gallon use E5.”

At the time, the Government warned that some rural drivers who frequent smaller, independent forecourts may have to travel further to find E5.

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Many larger forecourts, especially supermarkets or chain-owned, will also sell their own brand of premium fuel.

These will generally have higher octane ratings and will affect the performance of the vehicle.

According to the Government’s impact assessment released ahead of the 2021 rollout, it was found that E10 is 2.3 percent less efficient than its predecessor.

This was down to E10 containing up to five percent more renewable ethanol, designed to help tackle CO2 emissions.

A third reader, mikenobike, suggested: “Time to scrap E10. It’s a fallacy it saves CO2. In my 1.4, I lose four to five mpg by using E10. 

“No one can convince me that the CO2 savings from E10 aren’t wiped out by the necessity to burn another two to three gallons extra each week.

“It’s highly likely I’m putting out more CO2 with those extra two to three gallons than if I used E5.”

According to RAC Fuel Watch, regular unleaded petrol is selling for an average of 165.75p per litre, while super unleaded will set drivers back around 178.85p per litre.

E10 petrol is already widely used around the world, including across Europe, the US and Australia. 

It has also been the reference fuel against which new cars are tested for emissions and performance since 2016.

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