Is your car E10 compatible? New fuel set to cause chaos

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E10 petrol burns cleaner than other unleaded fuels and the Department for Transport is keen to introduce it to the UK to meet climate change targets. Containing 10% ethanol, it’s twice as clean as any fuel currently available in Britain.

Already widely available in the EU, the USA and Australia, E10 is widely compatible with newer vehicles. But if you drive an older car or one of a handful of popular makes and models, you could be in trouble.

What is E10?

E10 is a biofuel containing 10% ethanol produced from plant-based sources including sugar cane, corn, wheat and barley. It can absorb C02, thus offsetting greenhouse gas emissions and replacing just 10% of Europe’s petrol with this cleaner fuel could reduce those harmful emissions by 6%.

Too good to be true? There are concerns about deforestation and the efficiency of E10 as opposed to E5 fuels which could see you having to tank up more often.

Are you affected?

If you’re uncertain whether your car is likely to be affected by the switch to E10, the RAC has done the hard work for you. The motoring organisation has compiled a list of the 10 makes and models most likely to be affected by 2020 – a whopping 634,309 vehicles.

Heading the list is the enduringly popular VW Golf (28,066 estimated to be affected), followed by the MG MGB (20,890 vehicles) and the Mazda MX-5 of which 18,162 cars could be affected. The RAC estimates that 150,000 of the affected vehicles will have been manufactured after 2000.

MG comes off worst with 3 models affected by the switch – the MGB, MGF and TF – while the Rover Mini and 25 are also incompatible. The good news is that larger petrol stations will have to stock E5 petrol to cater for older vehicles, but the analysis still shows hundreds of thousands of cars being left behind when the switch happens.

E10 protection

While some of the models affected are historic vehicles, the vast majority are the kind of cheap, older runabouts that many of us rely on for day to day use. It’s these vehicles that the RAC hopes to see protected with the dual fuel proposal.

While the Government has a commitment to reduce carbon emissions, will it be at the expense of drivers of older cars? Hopefully, they’ll simply adopt the dual fuel option that is common on European forecourts.

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