E10 has become the new standard for petrol cars in the UK. Continue reading to learn more about E10 and whether your car is one of 600,000 cars that cannot use the new petrol.

From September 2021 E10 petrol became the new standard petrol fuel sold at almost all UK petrol stations, putting more than half a million older vehicles at risk of damage.

E10 is a new type of unleaded petrol that was introduced nationwide as part of government efforts to cut the country’s emissions.

It’s believed that the switch could see a drop in emissions equivalent to removing 350,000 cars from the road but the Department for Transport estimates as many as 600,000 cars cannot use the new petrol, including 350,000 which are in daily use.

While most of the affected cars are older models, some built as recently as 2010 could face compatibility problems and potential damage.

Here’s everything you need to know, including how to check if your car is compatible with the new fuel.

Why was E10 introduced in the UK?

E10 petrol is unleaded petrol which contains up to 10% bioethanol, taken from renewable sources such as sugar beet. Regular unleaded, labelled as E5, contains up to 5% ethanol.

The DfT estimates that changing to E10 will slash the UK’s CO2 emissions by 750,000 tonnes a year, which is the equivalent of removing 350,000 cars from the road.

Does it cost more?

Theoretically, E10 shouldn’t increase the cost of fuel at the pump. The new fuel is actually fractionally cheaper to produce. Having said this, the DfT has said that the new fuel is less efficient, increasing average fuel consumption by around 1.6%, which means drivers will likely see a rise in running costs.

Is my car compatible with the new fuel?

If your car was built in 2011 or later it is E10 compatible.

Most cars built since 2000 are also E10 compatible but if you’re not sure then you can check if your car is E10 compatible via the Government’s E10 checker service, here.

What if my car isn’t compatible with E10?

If your car isn’t compatible you should continue to use E5 unleaded. This will be sold as super unleaded (98 RON) at petrol stations where two grades of petrol are currently sold. 

The DfT has said it will continue to support the supply of E5 fuel for at least five years.

What do I do if I put E10 petrol into an incompatible car?

It’s important to remember that E10 fuel will not cause immediate damage to your car but prolonged use in an incompatible vehicle could cause long-term problems.

The reason for this is because ethanol is a solvent, increasing its level in petrol fuel can cause degradation of rubber and plastic components, such as hoses, seals, fuel lines and filters. It also absorbs water from the atmosphere, potentially leading to condensation and corrosion in metal fuel tanks, lines and other components.

Having said this, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) has advised that if you misfuel a car with E10 you should contact your local vehicle dealer, the vehicle manufacturer or roadside assistance who may advise that the fuel tank be drained.