On 1st September we saw the introduction of a new greener E10 petrol which is now the new standard grade. Many people are unsure what this new fuel is or what it means for them. The good news is that over 95% of petrol vehicles will be compatible, although some older and classic cars will not be. Despite this, they will still be able to access E5 fuel in super form.
This has been labelled as the new ‘green’ petrol, but something that many people are questioning is, if it really is a greener alternative, and will it contribute to a reduction in fossil fuels? According to the Government website, E10 petrol is ‘blended with up to 10% renewable ethanol and made up of materials such as low-grade grains, sugars and waste wood, making it greener than existing petrol’ They also state that it could cut transport CO2 emissions by 750,000 tonnes per year, which is the equivalent of taking 350,000 cars off of UK roads.
This reduction in CO2 emissions is a positive step in the right direction and will help the UK towards reaching our climate change goals and achieving a greener economy, although the PM has also recently announced a ban on new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 under their new green plan.
Between 31st October – 12th November 2021, the UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) which will bring countries together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. It is therefore even more important for the UK to be seen to be committed to adopting measures that will aid these actions and help to reduce climate change.
Not only is this introduction of E10 fuel aimed at helping the UK reach its goal of net zero carbon by 2050, but it will also boost the country’s biofuel industry, with the biofuel needed for E10 being refined in the UK.
E10 petrol is a fuel that contains less carbon and more ethanol than those that are currently available. Ethanol is a kind of alcohol manufactured from plants which includes sugar beet and wheat. Some countries run their cars purely on ethanol, such as Brazil who have been doing this for years, however the UK and other EU countries combine it with fuel that is derived from oil.
Ethanol is considered a carbon-neutral fuel due to the plants absorbing carbon dioxide when they grow, which offsets the CO2 that is emitted when they are burnt. E10 fuel only contains 10% of ethanol with the remaining 90% still being made of regular unleaded petrol. If it really is a greener alternative, many people are questioning why we are not using a higher percentage of it within the fuel.
The current petrol grade in the UK is E5 and contains up to 5% ethanol, with the other 95% being regular unleaded petrol. This new E10 petrol will see the percentage of ethanol increase to 10% and bring the UK in line with other EU countries. The price of this petrol will not be any more expensive than current E5 petrol available.