New E10 petrol changes to be introduced today

E10 biofuel: Department for Transport explains why it’s ‘better'

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From today, Tuesday, November 1, E10 petrol will be rolled out across forecourts in Northern Ireland, in a move which will align the country with Great Britain. Drivers across Northern Ireland will be able to fill up with greener fuel with E10 petrol becoming the new standard grade of petrol.

E10 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. 

The new fuel was first introduced in England, Scotland and Wales in September 2021.

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

The Government’s live vehicle checker allows motorists to see whether certain makes and models are compatible with the new biofuel.

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. 

Because of the higher bioethanol rating of the fuel, drivers may see their fuel efficiency drop slightly and may have to buy fuel more often as a result.

As a rule, drivers of cars registered prior to 2002 are advised not to use E10 in their vehicles, as problems have been reported.

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And as of 2011, all new cars sold in the UK must be E10 compatible.

Trudy Harrison, the former minister for the decarbonisation of transport, said: “We’re determined to cut emissions from all our roads and clean up our air, as we accelerate towards a zero-emission transport future.

“Although more and more motorists are driving electric vehicles, there are steps we can take to reduce emissions from the millions of vehicles already on our roads. 

“The small switch to E10 petrol will not only help drivers across the country reduce their environmental impact, but also could create thousands of jobs across the UK.”

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If drivers put E10 fuel in an incompatible car it will still run, but seals, plastics and metals may be damaged over longer periods as a result of bioethanol’s corrosive properties. 

It is hygroscopic, meaning that it absorbs water from the atmosphere, leading to condensation in fuel tanks if the car remains unused for long periods of time.

Owners of classic cars need to be particularly careful not to accidentally fill up with E10 and then leave it sitting in the tank for long periods of time.

This will lead to expensive costs from damaged seals, plastics and metals.

Despite the concerns, Shailesh Vara, former Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, said E10 would be great for drivers.

He said: “The Government is committed to supporting the growth of green energy across the UK and the introduction of E10 petrol will help reduce emissions of carbon dioxide on Northern Ireland roads.

“The decarbonisation of transport methods has an important part to play in achieving the UK’s net zero goals as well as creating opportunities for growth in our economy.”

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

Its use across the UK could contribute to cutting transport CO2 emissions in the UK by potentially 750,000 tonnes a year.

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