Last month, the UK Government launched a consultation proposing to introduce E10 petrol for UK vehicles. This introduction would form part of the Government’s measures to reduce the UK’s carbon footprint. The idea is that E10 petrol would be implemented at petrol stations across the country, in parallel with the phasing out of new petrol and diesel vehicles. The ultimate goal: net zero transport emissions by 2050.

What is E10 Petrol?

E10 petrol is a grade of petrol which contains up to 10% bioethanol. Whilst UK fuel standards already permit the sale of E10 petrol, petrol with more than 5% bioethanol is not yet available at UK petrol station forecourts.

Why is the Government considering this now?

The E10 petrol blend is already used a number of countries including Germany, France, Belgium, and Finland. The initial Government consultation paper states that, by switching to E10 petrol, CO2 emissions from a petrol vehicle would be reduced by around 2% and this could cut yearly emissions in the UK to the equivalent of taking around 350,000 cars off the road. The nationwide rollout of E10 would serve as an interim solution whilst the Government phases out internal combustion engine vehicles completely, with a longstop date for the last sales of such by 2035.

Why hasn’t it been adopted sooner?

Vehicle compatibility has been the main barrier to the introduction of E10 so far as not all vehicles have been approved by OEMs for use with fuel containing more than 5% bioethanol. The consultation therefore proposes that the changes would take place during 2021, giving motorists and OEMs time to prepare. In the meantime, it is proposed that petrol with up to 5% bioethanol would be kept available as a “premium” grade petrol only.

The Government’s consultation is open until 3 May 2020 and more information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/introducing-e10-petrol