Standard petrol changing to E10 – What does this mean for you?

Written by: Simon Pavey, Last updated:22nd September 2021

Male hand pulling fuel pump out of socket

As of summer 2021, the UK is transitioning from E5 petrol to E10. This change will not impact drivers of diesel vehicles, but will affect users of petrol.

What is E10 petrol?

This petrol contains 10% renewable ethanol, as opposed to E5 which only contains 5%.

All petrol cars made after 2011 are compatible with the newer fuel, and most vehicles made before that will also be compatible. You can check if your vehicle is compatible with E10 on the government website.  Classic cars are not likely to be compatible with this fuel, so it is worth checking before filling up!

If you have been filling your vehicle with E10, but go to fill up at a station where only E5 is available, it is safe to mix the two. They are very similar substances, but one contains more ethanol than the other.

The UK is actually a late adopter of E10. It has been rolled out in many EU countries such as France and Germany, and the US also uses it to fuel their  vehicles.

In fact, E10 is now the reference fuel that new cars are tested with when measuring emissions and performance.

Is E10 more fuel efficient?

Statistically, this newer petrol can reduce fuel economy. Compared to E5, you’ll see a 1% reduction in efficiency. It’s worth being aware of this, but it shouldn’t impact your fuel costs too much.

However, if your fleet does a lot of miles, this 1% could add up over months and years. It’s worth getting hold of a fuel card to counter-act this extra cost. You could even save up to 10p per litre.

You should also be aware that if your drivers are prone to harsh accelerating and braking, or if your vehicle is not maintained well enough, your fuel economy could be greatly reduced with this newer fuel.

Why has this change been made?

Since E10 uses 10% renewable ethanol, less fossil fuels are required. This will make a big difference towards reducing the country’s CO2 emissions.

According to the government, switching to this newer fuel will cut the country’s CO2 emissions by 750,000 tonnes a year. This is the equivalent of removing all the cars in North Yorkshire!

Whilst E10 does reduce our carbon emissions, it does not do much to improve air quality and public health.

What else is the country doing to reduce emissions?

The change to a petrol with less fossil fuels is just one of the many steps the government is taking to lower the overall carbon emissions of the transport industry.

Red fuel nozzle in blue car

Petrol and Diesel Ban

In 2030, the government will be banning the sale and production of petrol and diesel cars. They, of course, won’t be outlawed straight away. You can still buy a new petrol car in 2029 and get a few years of use out of it.

We will see less and less fossil fuel burning cars on the road as we approach this ban. In conjunction with the introduction of lower emission fuel, this will help to push our emissions down even further.

Low Emissions Zones

Low emissions zones, or LEZ, are areas that the local council has decided to limit access to vehicles that do not meet certain requirements.

Vehicles must meet an emission standard to drive through an LEZ freely. Otherwise, they will have to pay a charge.

For a petrol car to drive in the Ultra Low Emission Zone in London, for example, it must achieve a Euro 4 minimum emission standard. If it does not, the driver must pay a daily charge of £12.50 to enter.

These zones achieve two things. Firstly, they keep drivers out of areas with high congestion which reduces air pollution; this is a great benefit to public health. Secondly, those who need to drive in these zones will consider acquiring a vehicle that meets the emission standard. For example, they might look into purchasing an electric vehicle, as they do not emit harmful greenhouse gases.

EV grants

The government also offers grants to those considering purchasing an electric vehicle. When deciding on their next vehicle, drivers might take this into consideration, as they could potentially pay less than they would for an ICE vehicle.

The plug-in vehicle grant will pay for 35% of a vehicle’s purchase price, up to a maximum of £2,500.

How can Fuel Card Services help?

There are many upcoming changes to our roads, so it’s often difficult for fleet managers to know when they are making the best decisions for their businesses.

With help from Fuel Card Services, you can rest assured that you are keeping costs as low as possible. We can help you find the right fuel card for your business, and our additional fleet management services can help you increase productivity and cut costs even further – get in touch today!