E10 – Fuelling sustainability?

Greg Davies

Greg Davies
Director of Market Development, Assurity Consulting
6th September 2021

  • Bioethanol has already been used for some time to replace a percentage of, and so cut down the amount of, wholly refined crude oil based petrol we have historically used. The E5 unleaded grade we already use contains 5% bioethanol and the new E10 standard grade, unsurprisingly, 10% bioethanol;
  • The bioethanol being used is produced from “low grade crops, sugar and waste wood” makes it greener than refined crude and renewable;
  • According to Government figures E10 “could cut transport COemissions by 750,000 tonnes per year, which is the equivalent of taking 350,000 cars off of UK roads”;
  • As of 2011, all new cars sold in the UK must be E10 compatible, but over 600,000 (RAC published figure) vehicles currently on the road are not compatible with the new fuel;
  • You can check whether E10 is compatible with your vehicle at Check if your vehicle can run on E10 petrol - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
  • There have been some issues reported regarding the use of E10, for example the fuel is hygroscopic – meaning it absorbs water from the atmosphere – and so can potentially cause problems with water/condensation in fuel tanks;
  • Fuel efficiency could also be an issue as E10 is less fuel efficient than E5, figures range from between a 1% and 3% impact on fuel economy;
  • Environmentally there has also been a mixed response with the carbon offset benefits being viewed against the loss of land and crops for other uses.

In reality it is, like most other aspects of sustainability, down to choice and this is not only what fuel you put in your car, but when and how you drive it too.