But hundreds of thousands of cars still incompatible with new fuel
The government has announced plans to introduce a new blend of petrol with a higher proportion of bioethanol next year.
Ministers are consulting on a proposal to make E10 – a lower carbon fuel with upto a 10% ethanol content – the new standard grade of petrol replacing the current E5 (5% ethanol).
The Department for Transport estimates that by making the change CO2 emissions from transport could be cut by 750,000 tonnes per year, the equivalent of taking about 350,000 cars off the road completely.
E10 is already widely used in countries such as Belgium, Finland, France and Germany.
However, not all cars on the road are E10 compatible. Whilst almost all cars manufactured since 2000 will have been engineered to take E10, RAC Foundation analysis suggests there are still hundreds of thousands of vehicles on the road that can’t use the fuel without the threat of damage.
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said:
“Analysis we have previously done suggests that although the number of E10-incompatible cars is falling each year there could still be over 600,000 of them on the roads.
“Some are historic vehicles doing just a few miles a year but many will be older, everyday run-arounds owned by those on lower incomes.
“Saying that E5 will still be available is all well and good but not every fuel station will have tanks to dispense it from, and where it is available it is likely to cost more than today which could be an issue for the cost-conscious owners of older cars used to filling up at their local supermarket.”
A key part of the planned introduction will be driver information. The government consultation says:
“Any government-led introduction of E10, as proposed earlier in this document, would have to be accompanied by a comprehensive communications campaign, have concise guidance on compatibility and include an online compatibility checker tool. This would help motorists to quickly and easily identify whether their vehicle is suitable for use with E10”
Steve Gooding welcomed the provision of an online vehicle checker.
“The introduction of E10 in other countries has been marred by the absence of a comprehensive and trustworthy lookup table for drivers to check whether their vehicle is compatible with the new fuel or not, so it is encouraging to see ministers’ commitment to such a tool to accompany the introduction of E10 here.”
Philip Gomm – Head of External Communications – RAC Foundation
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Notes to editors:
The RAC Foundation is a transport policy and research organisation that explores the economic, mobility, safety and environmental issues relating to roads and their users.
The Foundation publishes independent and authoritative research with which it promotes informed debate and advocates policy in the interest of the responsible motorist. All the Foundation’s work is available at: www.racfoundation.org