A New Greener Fuel - Are You Ready For E10 Petrol?

E10 Eco-Fuel – Low Carbon Petrol

Already available in some parts of Europe and if current proposals are carried, soon to be available over here too, E10 Fuel is hailed as the environmentally friendly alternative to regular petrol and diesel. But what is E10 Fuel? What are the advantages of driving or hiring a car that run on it?

Despite being dubbed as an alternative to current fuel types, E10 Fuel is 90% regular unleaded, but it’s the other 10% that gives it claim to be environmentally friendly. Ethanol is what comprises the remainder of the mix – essentially, alcohol made from fermenting plant matter and as such, making E10 Fuel technically a biofuel.

While ethanol can be used as a fuel by itself, it also has the ability to absorb carbon dioxide (C02) a greenhouse gas, a property which regular fuel lacks. So swapping 10% unleaded for a fuel which is not only cleaner, but helps the other 90% be cleaner too, creates a new type of fuel that’s believed to be better for the environment.


Why is E10 Fuel only ‘Believed to be better’ for the environment?

While E10 Fuel’s reason’s for claiming to be better for the environment are fairly straightforward, there are other factors which might mitigate the benefits claimed.

The first of which is efficiency. Both unleaded petrol and modern diesel are sophisticated fuels. Advanced refinement techniques along with various additives and enhancements mean that today’s fuels are made for performance and well optimised for the cars which have been built to run on them. Swap a tenth of a tank for a different product and cars will still run, but they’ll likely run less efficiently, meaning they won’t travel as far before needing to be refuelled. The fuel burns more cleanly, but more will be burned overall.

Because Bioethanol is made from plants, those plants will have to be grown somewhere. There are fears that deforestation might start to occur in order to grow the additional crops needed to create the fuel. Ethanol is more expensive than petrol, so car fuel as a cash crop could encourage growers to cut back on food production (driving up food prices) and also encourage making room for more crops by  chopping down trees (which remove C02 from the atmosphere) in order to create a fuel which sends a bit less C02 out of the tailpipe. A poor trade-off.


E10 Fuel – 800,000 Cars Are Incompatible

As fuel has evolved over the years, so have the engines which run on them. From 2011, all new cars had to be E10 compatible by law and many cars sold before this date we already able to run on E10 fuel, however, it’s been estimated that around 800,000 of the cars on the road today cannot be run on the E10 Fuel. These are for the most part, older models, especially those made pre 2002.


When will we see E10 Fuel on Sale?

At the moment, the plans to introduce E10 in the UK are still only plans. We’re sure to see it on sale at some point in the future, but proposals are currently still at the proposal stage while the expected impact of E10 on drivers of older vehicles, the fuel industry, logistics and effects on other stakeholders are being assessed.

At Priory Rentals, our fleet is in a constant state of renewal, so we’re unlikely to be affected when E10 is finally made available, but for owners of older vehicles, perhaps now is the time to start thinking about selling your old car. You could always hire a car from us while you make up your mind on a newer model!