When you head to the petrol pump, you will often find you have three options: diesel, unleaded and premium unleaded. For most of us, those three options are enough. If you have a diesel car, you’ll put that in. If you have a petrol engine, then you’ll go for whichever version of unleaded fits your budget. But in 2020, a new option was unveiled on the UK market – E10 petrol.

What is this new fuel type and should you be putting it inside your car? Here’s our explainer on what exactly is E10 petrol.

What is E10 Petrol?

A new mixture of different biofuels, E10 petrol is composed of 90% regular unleaded petrol, and 10% ethanol. The petrol you put in your car now already has some ethanol in it, around 5%. Hence the name, E5 petrol. E10 just contains more.

Why are they putting more ethanol in the petrol?

Unlike most fuels, ethanol is based on alcohol and is produced by the fermentation of different plants. Because it is plant-based, the carbon footprint of producing the fuel is much less than regular petrol, and some even state that is almost carbon-neutral. 

By increasing the amount of ethanol in the fuel, there is less of the standard petrol being used each time you fuel up. That should reduce the amount of carbon being released into the atmosphere every time we visit the petrol pumps.

Do I have to use it?

The UK government has announced that from Summer 2021, the majority of all petrol pumps will now start using E10 petrol as standard. That means you are more likely to find the E10 petrol at the pump than E5. 

The good news is that most cars built since 2010 will be perfectly compatible with the new fuel type. So you can switch to E10 without any issues. Older cars are less likely to be 100% compatible. What you will need to do is to check online to see if your car will work on the fuel type. Use the government vehicle compatibility check to find out.

What if my car won’t run on E5?

The good news is that there still should be some pumps that have E5 available as a petrol. You will need to check at the service station and there may be a longer queue to fewer available pumps.

That doesn’t mean it will last forever. Petrol stations will put profits above your own convenience, so they may eventually reduce or phase out the E5 pumps in the long term. So you may want to think about changing your car.

Will it affect my car price?

It’s likely that cars that are incompatible with the new fuel type will lose some of their resale value because of the switch in petrol types.

You may be hoping that your buyer is ignorant and is more interested in the body work than the fuel that goes in it, but chances are it’s something that’s going to be asked during the buying process.

Some listing websites might even require you to state what fuel is used. And the buyer can always check online themselves using the government site. So it may be something you need to consider before the change in fuel types this year.

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