Fears for owners of older cars as government consults on new less polluting fuel

More than 600,000 cars are thought to be incompatible with E10 petrol, experts say

Fears for owners of older cars as government consults on new less polluting fuel
More than 600,000 cars in Britain will not be able to use the new unleaded E10 fuel, if approved by government. Image: Bigstock.

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

  1. Volkswagen Golf (28,066)
  2. MG MGB (20,890)
  3. Mazda MX-5 (18,162)
  4. Nissan Micra (15,785)
  5. Morris Minor (12,796)
  6. Rover 25 (9,879)
  7. MG MGF (9,352)
  8. Ford Escort (8,947)
  9. Rover Mini (7,614)
  10. 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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Home Page Forums Fears for owners of older cars as government consults on new less polluting fuel

This topic contains 4 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Eddie 9 months ago.

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  • #163164 Reply

    Ken Ashton

    Maybe interest in LPG or Autogas as it is known , will be rekindled. I run my Range Rover on LPG as we sell it and its performance is fine as are the emissions . At about 70/75 pence a litre its much cheaper than petrol . Years ago one of the major fuel companies advertised a little alcohol in their product , if it was ok then why not now ?

    #163167 Reply


    we’ll soon all be running electric cars anyway, seems like a waste of effort. Money would be better spent on improving the electrical grid and associated charging infrastructure IMO

    #164326 Reply


    In the USA the Federal Aviation Authority does not allow these fuels to be used in light aircraft.

    #164739 Reply


    In high enough concentrations bio-ethanol can corrode rubber (seals, pipes, etc). There are alternative materials that can withstand the damage but they haven’t been mandated fitments, only some manufacturers have used them anyway as globally bio-ethanol now has a bigger market.

    There’s more in this article https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/advice/emissions/what-is-e10-fuel-and-how-could-it-affect-you/

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