A proposed switch to E10 fuel in the UK could affect 634,509 cars that are incompatible with the increase in percentage of bioethnaol used in petrol, reports the BBC.
Doubling the current proportion of bioethanol in petrol to 10% could cut CO2 emissions by 2%, according to the Department for Transport, but 150,000 cars built since 2000 and more than four times this number in total nationwide would be incompatible with E10.
A public consultation on the proposal launched in July and closes in mid-September. The fears of drivers of the affected cars, of which 28,000 are Volkswagen Golfs and almost 21,000 are MG MGBs, were acknowledged by transport minister Jesse Norman, who said: “This government is ambitiously seeking to reduce the UK’s reliance on imported fossil fuels and cut carbon emissions from transport. But drivers of older vehicles should not be hit hard in the pocket as a result.”
The introduction of E10 would not be mandatory, with fuel suppliers able to choose between selling E5 (5% bioethanol) or E10, although given the emissions benefits of the latter it’s likely to be incentivised. The consultation is seeking views on protecting drivers against increased costs of E5 by introducing an E5 protection grade. Larger filling stations are expected to continue offering E5 when E10 is introduced.
Ethanol has the potential to strip buildup from the insides of components, which could lead to blockages elsewhere in the engine of the affected cars. Rubber components of the incompatible cars are also at risk of corrosion through the ethanol content of E10.
A 2032 target to increase the amount of renewable fuel used in the UK is believed to be behind the proposal, although the infrastructure required for its introduction and number of affected vehicles are viewed as significant barriers.
E10 is already used commonly across the European Union, as well as widely in the US and Australia.
The most affected cars in the UK are:
Volkswagen Golf - 28,066 cars
MG MGB - 20,890
Mazda MX-5 - 18,162
Nissan Micra - 15,785
Morris Minor - 12,796
Rover 25 - 9,879
MG MGF - 9,352
Ford Escort - 8,947
Rover Mini - 7,614