Government to introduce E10 fuel to combat rise in CO2 emission levels

Published 04 March 2020

All standard petrol sold in the UK from 2021 will contain 10 per cent bioethanol, if a new Government consultation is given the greenlight.

The new E10 fuel will replace the existing E5 grade petrol, which contains up to five per cent bioethanol. It's claimed that E10 could reduce CO2 emissions by around 750,000 tonnes per year – a figure that's equivalent to 350,000 fewer cars on the road. 

In 2019, average volume weighted CO2 emissions for passenger cars in Europe increased to levels previously seen in 2014.

According to data from JATO Dynamics, UK vehicle CO2 emissions went from 125.1 to 127.4g/km, with industry experts blaming the decline of diesel and the popularity of large SUVs for the hike in CO2 levels. 

However, while the introduction of E10 may be good news for the environment, it could spell disaster for owners of older and classic vehicles. The Department for Transport has admitted that older cars could suffer from blocked fuel filters, damaged fuel pumps, degradation of flexible hoses and corroded carburettors.

What's more, for some makes and models, the compatibility picture can be quite complicated, with the year of manufacture and engine type determining compatibility. As a result, the consultation is examining the viability of retaining E5 petrol as a higher octane “Super” grade for an additional five years. 

The Government predicts, by 2021, 98 per cent of all petrol cars will be compatible with E10. This means most motorists will be able to switch to the new grade without any modification to their vehicle.

The Government consultation is available to read here and is due to run until 9 April 2020.


Engineer Andy    on 4 March 2020

Yet another dumb idea. It would be FAR, FAR better for the land set aside for growing the crops that go into making the ethonol to be used to grow acutal food that we can eat, thus reducing the need to import as much from overseas, redcuing the amount of fuel used in that and more than offsetting the extra crude oil we would need to fill that 5% biofuel.

Add to that the benefits to vehicles of having less ethanol etc in the fuel.

hissingsid    on 4 March 2020

What are we classic car owners supposed to do?
When lead was removed from petrol, additives appeared on the market to replace it, but when something harmful like Ethanol is added to petrol it cannot be removed.
We can replace our seals, gaskets and fuel lines with modern materials which resist Ethanol, but combating metal corrosion is another problem entirely. Will the chemists develop an additive to neutralise it's corrosive effects?
I agree with Andy that agricultural land should be used to grow food crops, not fuel ingredients. Now that we are out of the EU, we need to become as self sufficient in food production as possible.

Engineer Andy    on 4 March 2020

Apparently there are motoring organisations and other insiders trying to lobby to keep superunleaded as E5 rather than E10.

Phian    on 6 March 2020

Misleading headline, the Government are still consulting experts. No decision has been made.

Engineer Andy    on 6 March 2020

Misleading headline, the Government are still consulting experts. No decision has been made.

Yes and no. Often, 'consultations' by politicians and civil servants are just paper exercises to pretend to the public they are taking their views into account before implementing the decision they already made beforehand, especially when they control what information is released. I mean, how often do they completely disregard our views?

David593    on 7 March 2020

I’m sure the government and manufacturers service departments will be happy when they have more work to do to fix our cars and motorbikes damaged by this change. Politicians are all looking after their interest groups. I’d love to know the cost of all this environmental target b***** and how this ‘helps the planet’ when you take into account India and China..... A few Grauniad readers will feel virtuous and everyone else has to go along with it. The general media will feed the general sense of entitlement and the feelings and thoughts of ordinary people will continue to be unknown. Incidentally the most environmentally sensible thing to do is keep running existing finite resources by buying older second hand vehicles and keeping them running rather than new ones. But that doesn’t fit anyone’s agenda!

Edited by David593 on 07/03/2020 at 09:57

Alan Massey    on 8 March 2020

I do find I agree with Andy. The production of crops for both enhonol and bio diesel if very energy demanding and takes away land which should produce food, this is especially true for developing countries.
As a retired university lecturer in forestry and conservation I find there is so much ignorance in discussion re conservation in the UK.
If you want to help the planet, keep your old car for at least 15 years.
Yes, believe it or not that is the best conservation option.
The imbedded energy required to manufacture a new car is huge. and is even greater for eletric and hybrid cars. The government and the motor trade don't want you to know this for reasons of self interest.
If you are really serious about conservation and saving the planet then you need to look at whole life cycle analysis. The motor industry would rather you did not do this but the truth is that the worst case scenario is for you to change your car every two to three years, the best, keep it for at least 15!
As for this great planet saving move to electric cars, it is just a falacity, the mining of lithium and other rare metals required to make the batteries are so damaging to our planet.
The motor trade and UK government would have you believe that electric cars are the answer but in reality they are not. In the short/medium term use your car less, drive economically, use trains as much as you can and keep your old car. In the longer term we need to adopt fuel cell powered cars.
This argument is well understood in the Southern Hemisphere and in countries such as New Zealand you will see many old cars on their roads. In the Uk people are very concerned with status and keeping up with their neighbours, we need to move away from this and see an old car as a good environment credential.

paul robert watson    on 12 March 2020

About 10 years ago on the TV there was a programme on the ice melting in Antartica,but this ice was melting 60' below the ice surface
they said there would be another programme the next night,but it never took place.There is only one reason for ice to melt 60' down
geothermal.There are ships that burn some sort of black sludge that
produce the same amount of polution as over 30 million cars.Should
these ships not be taken out of service as a way of reducing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Isabella Greg    on 24 June 2020

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