E10 'greener' fuel as standard across forecourts

E10 petrol has as of 1 September 2021 become the 'standard' type of unleaded being sold at forecourts across the country.

The greener fuel has been introduced in a bid by the government to reduce vehicle emissions as part of its wider efforts to hit its decarbonisation targets.

Announcing its arrival today, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: 'Every journey matters as we drive forward the green industrial revolution, which is why the rollout of E10 is so important.

'It’ll help us cut road greenhouse gas emissions and meet our ambitious net-zero targets. Although more and more drivers are switching to electric, there are steps we can take today to reduce emissions from the millions of vehicles already on our roads – the small switch to E10 petrol will reduce greenhouse gas emissions as we accelerate towards a greener transport future.'

Here's everything you need to know about the switchover to E10 fuel from this month

The name 'E10' is a reference to the ethanol - or bioethanol - mix in the fuel.

In the case of E10, that is 10% up from a 5% mix from E5 petrol that's been supplied at forecourts for years.

Simply put, the higher the ethanol mix, the greener the fuel.

That's because the bioethanol content is an alcohol-based product created from the fermentation of a range of plants including sugarcane, cassava, and hemp, as well as grains, potato, and waste wood.

Technically speaking, this makes any petrol consisting of a bioethanol mix partially 'atmospherically carbon-neutral' because the plants have absorbed more carbon dioxide while growing than what is released into the air during fuel production and combustion.

While ministers will argue that this - in theory - offsets greenhouse gas emissions, there is much debate about how much.

Materials needed for the higher concentration of bioethanol in E10 will be produced and refined in the UK.

Its introduction is said to have generated up to 100 jobs in the North East, with AB Sugar's Vivergo plant set to reopen, and production due to an increase at existing biofuel plants such as Ensus.

The general rule of thumb is that any car registered before 2002 could be at risk if they use E10 petrol and should be checked for compatibility.

That said, only since 2011 has it been a rule for all new cars sold to be able to run on E10. If you have a vehicle older than 2011, it's worth verifying if the greener fuel is recommended for your motor.

'Over 98% of petrol cars in the UK can run perfectly well on E10, but some older models, classic cars, and motorcycles shouldn't use it,' according to AA technical specialist, Greg Carter.

Toyota has also said that all its petrol engines or hybrid powertrains that were officially produced for European markets since January 1998 will be compatible with E10 petrol, bar the 2000-2008 Avensis with a 2.0- or 2.4-litre 1AZ-FSE engine.

While it should say if your petrol model is compatible with E10 inside the fuel filler cap on your car, you can also find out by using the Government's online checker tool.