E10 fuel guide
With hybrid cars becoming the new standard for many new car buyers, the car world is forever evolving – and the same goes for how we run our cars. Whilst researching for your next new car, you may have come across the term “e10 fuel” and wondered what it means. We answer all your questions about e10 fuel and what it is.
What is E10 fuel?
E10 fuel is designed to be the new petrol standard in the UK. It used to be what is known as E5, but the new type is a little more friendly to the environment as it can reduce your CO2 emissions. The difference is small, but the impact has the potential to be huge:
E5 is the standard grade of petrol which is made up of 95% octane and 5% ethanol
E10 is the new mix that contains 10% renewable ethanol and 90% octane
E10 fuel is already widely used across Europe, the USA and Australia. It’s also been the fuel car manufacturers have referenced when testing for emissions and performance since 2016. It’s being rolled out as the default choice at fuel stations across the UK, to replace the E5 fuel unleaded petrol.
What are the benefits of E10 fuel?
E10 is becoming the default fuel available at most petrol stations across the UK – the chances are, you’ve used it already and not known! You also might not know what the impact of E10 fuel might be:
The impact it has on CO2 emissions
Ethanol has less carbon than petrol, just two carbon atoms per molecule to petrol’s average of eight, so burning it will release less CO2.
It’s generally a little ‘greener’
The higher levels of ethanol in E10, which consists of various plant materials, means less fossil fuel emissions are produced in the making of the petrol. Plus the crops needed to make ethanol also absorb CO2 as they grow, making it better for the environment.
The Government anticipates that this change to the mix of the fuel could cut transport CO2 emissions by up to 750,000 tonnes a year- that's equivalent to taking 350,000 cars off the road!
Is my car compatible with E10 fuel?
Most petrol vehicles will be able to use E10, but for other car manufacturers you can check your E10 fuel compatibility in the following ways:
GOV UK E10 fuel checker - you’ll need to know the vehicle manufacturer to use this
European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) – this lists most car manufacturers available in the UK
If you already have a Suzuki on your driveway (great choice!) then the chances are that it’s compatible with E10 fuel - all of our cars built since 2011 are. If your Suzuki is a little older and you’re unsure, you can either take a peek in your Owner’s manual or ask your friendly local dealer.
What if your car isn't compatible with E10 fuel?
If you find your car isn't compatible with the new E10 petrol (some classic cars aren’t!) then you've got a couple of options:
You can continue to use E5 fuel by purchasing super unleaded or premium petrol, which have 97% and 99% octane. The government has said that these fuels will continue to be available and should provide better performance but you may have to pay more for these fuels.
You could look at part exchanging your current older car and look for something a bit newer that will happily run on E10. You can get a valuation for your car so you know what you can expect when you trade it in.
What happens if you use E10 fuel in a non-compatible car?
If you accidentally fill up with E10 fuel, don't panic. The government suggests that putting E10 petrol in a non-compatible car on a one-time basis won’t result in permanent engine damage.
That being said, they recommend avoiding prolonged use of E10 petrol in a non-compatible car as this can result in long term harm to the engine in the following ways:
- If repeatedly used incorrectly, fuel containing ethanol can turn corrosive when left in long-term storage.
- Ethanol's high solvency can affect seals and gaskets used in some fuel systems.
- Combustion can also be affected by ethanol affecting cold start performance.
So, if you do use E10 by mistake just remember to fill up with super unleaded or premium fuel next time. The RAC also recommends topping up with one of these fuels once you’ve used some petrol and have space in the tank in order to dilute any negative effects.
Frequently asked questions about E10 fuel
Not any time soon, existing grades of unleaded petrol are likely to be available whilst demand continues.
The pricing of fuel varies depending on individual petrol stations.
Yes, all E10 fuel compatible vehicles can safely mix with the different types of unleaded petrol if necessary.
Yes, but not by much. The new mix in E10 fuel has a slightly lower energy density than E5 fuel, meaning fuel consumption will increase slightly.
The UK Government have stated that the introduction of E10 fuel can see a slight reduction in fuel economy, though this is likely to be only around 1%.