Experts are warning that many popular cars are likely to be unable to use a new fuel which promises to reduce tail pipe emissions.
It follows a consultation launched by the Department for Transport (DfT) on its proposal to encourage larger forecourts to sell E10 petrol to help the UK meet climate change targets.
Currently, unleaded petrol in the UK contains up to five per cent bioethanol, a grade known as E5.
E10 petrol contains up to ten per cent bioethanol and, while not yet available in the UK, it is estimated that could hit forecourts within the next two years.
E10 incompatible cars
In total, 634,309 petrol cars will be in use but incompatible with E10 in 2020, according to the research.
Of these, 150,000 will have been manufactured from the year 2000 onwards.
Analysis by motoring research charity the RAC Foundation estimated 28,066 Volkswagen Golfs on the road that would be affected, the most of any model.
Other models include the Nissan Micra (15,785), Rover 25 (9,879) and Ford Escort (8,947).
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “As and when E10 appears on the forecourts, drivers need to know whether their cars can use it without being damaged.
“Drivers need to know”
“This analysis shows that even in a couple of years’ time there will still be hundreds of thousands of cars on our roads that are incompatible with the new fuel.
“Whilst some of the cars incompatible with E10 fuel will be historic models, many will be old but serviceable everyday run-arounds that people on a tight travel budget rely on to get about.
“The good news is both that the vast majority of cars on our roads are able to run on E10 and that Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has recognised the need to protect the users of those older vehicles which are not E10 compatible.
“It will be interesting to see whether the current consultation generates support for the Government’s proposed way forward.”
Most common E10 incompatible cars
- Volkswagen Golf (28,066)
- MG MGB (20,890)
- Mazda MX-5 (18,162)
- Nissan Micra (15,785)
- Morris Minor (12,796)
- Rover 25 (9,879)
- MG MGF (9,352)
- Ford Escort (8,947)
- Rover Mini (7,614)
- MG TF (7,568)
A DfT spokeswoman said: “This Government is ambitiously seeking to reduce the UK’s reliance on imported fossils fuels and cut carbon emissions from transport.
“But drivers of older vehicles should not be hit hard in the pocket as a result .
“The E10 petrol consultation will give a better understanding of the impact of E10 on the UK market, and to ensure that drivers are protected if any changes come into effect.”
The government consultation runs until September 16.
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