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How to check if the new E10 petrol being rolled out to forecourts is compatible with your car



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The standard grade of petrol is changing in the UK - but it is believed that up to 600,000 vehicles on our roads may not be suited to it.

Over the coming months, E10 is replacing E5 on forecourts because it is more environmentally friendly.

The new E10 petrol standard will hit forecourts this summer
The new E10 petrol standard will hit forecourts this summer

It contains up to 10 per cent renewable ethanol, which is added to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Petrol in the UK has so far included only up to to five per cent, but blending it with a higher of renewable ethanol means less fossil fuel will be needed.

The vast majority of vehicles on the roads will automatically be compatible with E10 petrol.

But the RAC estimates up to 600,000 will not be, prompting a warning to warning to motorists to check before they fill, especially if they drive a vehicle manufactured before 2011.

Since that year, all vehicles have been made to accept the E10 grade to aid UK efforts to tackle the problems of climate change and meet emissions targets.

Classic cars, and what the government also refers to as ‘cherished’ and older vehicles, some models of moped - particularly those with an engine size of 50cc or under - and some specific makes and models of car from the early 2000s are among those which may not be able to take the new petrol on board.

The RAC warns that anyone with a car registered before 2002 should be particularly cautious.

Is my car compatible?

Motorists can check whether their vehicle is suitable for E10 petrol through the government’s online E10 Compatibility Checker - available here.

You will need to know the vehicle’s manufacturer, model, engine size and the year it was made in order to get a definitive answer.

What should I do if my vehicle is not compatible with E10?

Those who own engines that are not compatible with E10 petrol should use the higher-octane ‘super’ E5 petrol, which is expected to remain at most petrol stations after E10 comes into use.

But that will also come at a higher cost. Estimates suggesting drivers may eventually pay between £6 and £7 more for a tank of E5 petrol in a standard family car.

Identifying E5 and E10 petrol

The new fuel options will be clearly displayed for petrol station customers on nozzles and displays
The new fuel options will be clearly displayed for petrol station customers on nozzles and displays

A black circular E10 or E5 label will be clearly visible on both the petrol dispenser and nozzle at petrol station selling both types of fuel to help motorists identify which one to use.

What happens if I put E10 fuel in a non-compatibile vehicle?

If you do fill a non-compatible car with E10 fuel in error, there is no need to panic.

Experts suggest that using a single tank of E10 petrol in a car that isn't designed for it should not be a major problem - but they stress it should not become a regular occurrence.

Unlike putting petrol into a diesel engine, there would be no need to drain the tank. As a one-off, it should not damage the vehicle’s engine.

Prolonged use of E10 in an unsuitable vehicle may cause more harm over time. The RAC says it could lead to damage to seals, plastics and metals not designed to take E10 as a result of bioethanol’s ’corrosive properties’.

Vehicles which can take E10, meanwhile, will have no problem still using E5 or even, says the government, a combination of the two fuel types if required.

It says it is ‘perfectly safe’ to mix them in the same tank in compatible cars if either fuel is not available.

To learn more about the roll-out of E10 petrol this year visit this site.


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