Dick Lovett

The E10 fuel change in the UK: A full guide

Posted 7th September 2021

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Confused about the new E10 petrol and how it affects your car? The new eco-friendly fuel has been launched in Great Britain, but if you’re still unsure about what E10 fuel is, whether you can use it in your car, and what to do if you can’t, our quick guide will answer all your questions.

What is E10 petrol?

E10 is a ‘greener’ type of fuel that is being introduced to station forecourts across the UK as of summer 2021 as the new standard kind of unleaded. It’s part of the government’s plan to reduce vehicle emissions – it’s estimated that using E10 fuel could cut CO2 emissions from transport by 750,000 tonnes per year. The UK government has said that figure works out as the equivalent of taking 350,000 vehicles off the road.

Why is it called E10?

E10 means 10% renewable ethanol mix. The previous standard petrol fuel in the UK was E5, and this had 5% ethanol.

With E10, that percentage has increased to 10%. That means E10 is composed of 90% regular unleaded petrol, and 10% ethanol. By using more ethanol, the engine burns less petrol and therefore produces less emissions.

When is E10 petrol available?

E10 fuel was announced as the new standard grade of petrol on September 1, 2021. When you next pull into a garage forecourt or a petrol station to re-fuel, E10 is what you’ll see on the pumps - though they will be clearly labelled if you need to use an alternative.

E10 has actually been on sale in the UK for a while – and has already been rolled out across Europe – but this is the first time it will be the standard petrol.

Can I use E10 fuel in my car?

It’s estimated that over 95% of all petrol vehicles are compatible. All cars manufactured since 2011 can use E10 fuel, with most older vehicles made since the late 1990s also compatible. So if you own and drive a car older than that, you should check to see whether it’s suitable to use E10 fuel before filling up.

Visit the government’s car compatibility checker here, which enables you to enter the make and model of your vehicle to see if it can use E10 petrol.

Can E10 petrol damage my car?

Compatible cars won’t be affected, of course, but non-compatible cars might be, though the situation is not as serious as putting petrol into a diesel car, for example. You might find your car’s performance slightly affected, but the best advice is to put the correct fuel in as soon as you can; E5 petrol will still be available as super unleaded.

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Can I put E10 in my diesel car?

No - E10 fuel is for petrol cars only and therefore not suitable for use in diesel cars.

Is E10 petrol more expensive?

The government has said that E10 petrol won’t be more expensive than the standard type we’ve all been used to, and you shouldn’t pay any more at the pumps when you fill-up. 

Can you mix E5 and E10 petrol?

Yes, even if your car is compatible with E10 petrol, you can still mix it with E5 petrol. And, you can still choose to use E5 petrol if you prefer, though bear in mind using E5 super unleaded petrol instead could prove to be expensive in comparison.

What is E10 fuel economy?

E10 petrol slightly reduces fuel economy, so you may notice your car doesn’t record the same number of miles per gallon (MPG) when using it. However, in real terms, you’re hardly likely to notice much difference – it’s a marginal reduction and your annual running costs may only rise very slightly. Using E10 petrol will have less of an impact on fuel economy than driving with under-inflated tyres, for example.

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