The government will likely make it mandatory for petrol stations in the UK to sell 10% ethanol petrol.

Ethanol, a renewable fuel, is mixed with regular petrol in various quantities across the world. In the UK, suppliers can currently choose to sell petrol with either 5% or 10% ethanol in it. But, despite the choice, you will not find 10% ethanol (E10) petrol for sale anywhere.

E10 is more environmentally friendly, but UK consumers are reluctant to use it. Reasons include that ethanol reduces mileage and that high levels can cause damage to engines. Then there is the fear of the unknown. 5% ethanol petrol is the norm for UK consumers. Most are okay with this, but 10% is different.

The government is looking to make E10 the standard fuel across petrol stations in the UK. The switch from using 5 to 10% ethanol would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2%. But not only are many reluctant to use it, there are still over 1 million cars alone in the UK which are incompatible with higher-ethanol petrol. Not to mention many classic motorcycles and scooters. The government somehow has to encourage/enforce the sale of 10% ethanol petrol, while making sure 5% (E5) is still available to those who need it.

What it is proposing is that every petrol station in the UK sells E10 petrol, but large stations can sell both E5 and E10. There are a few potential issues with this.

Currently, the 'Standard' petrol sold in the UK is 95 octane E5 (95 E5). Many larger stations sell a 'Super' grade petrol as well. This is usually 97-99 octane E5, and is more expensive, by around 8-10p per litre.

The first obvious issue with government plans is that it could cause E5 petrol to rise in price. If all stations are made to sell E10 petrol, it will most likely be sold as a standard petrol (95 E10) and will replace standard E5 petrol (95 E5). This means that those larger stations which can sell both will likely opt to sell their E5 petrol as their 'Super' petrol. Meaning those who need 5% ethanol petrol would have to pay more for it. Even though many classic vehicles would not benefit from the higher octane levels that 'Super' grade petrol offers.

Because of this, the government is proposing a 'Protection' grade E5 petrol be sold at all large petrol stations. They would revise the law in 2020. Though their plans aren't yet finalised.

But if the government makes both E5 and E10 petrol available as standard grade petrol in larger stations, it's likely that less E10 will sell. Not only this, but small petrol stations which are only selling E10 petrol will lose out on sales. No doubt plenty of consumers will stick to buying E5 petrol from where it is available.

Larger petrol stations would also lose out on the profit they made from selling a 'Super' grade petrol. And if they were able to sell E10 as their 'Super' grade, with E5 remaining their 'Standard' grade, even less E10 would sell. Not enough of it to meet the government's targets, anyway.

How the government implements E10 petrol is currently open to public opinion. You can read its consultation and have your say before the 16th September. E10 petrol is a step in the right direction for the planet. But whichever way the government proceeds, it's likely there'll be difficulties, at least in the short term.

What are your thoughts on this? Will you be using E10 petrol when it comes to the UK? Let us know by emailing


30/09/19: I will not be using 10% ethanol full at all in my bikes. I already only use the supper unleaded fuel and am looking for any company that sells ethanol free fuel. I have found one so far so try to use them all the time.

29/08/19: Please be aware that Ethanol is NOT compatible with any 2 stroke engine or the majority of 4 stroke engines produced before 2011...

Engines before 2011 are not designed to run on E10.

If two big tanker ships produce the same CO2 as 50 million cars and 15 ships produce more CO2 than every car on the planet, why are they not even being taxed?

Also, one tonne of concrete made produces one tonne of CO2, why is there no concrete tax?

18/08/19: No way Jose.
I'll be using only Super in my 911 and E5 in the Range Rover

16/08/19: I run my cars for at least 100,000 miles over about 10 years. It is much more eco-friendly by reducing manufacturing footprint than burning ethanol. Suspect E10 will have a detrimental effect on engine wear so no will not buy E10

18/07/19: Not a chance. Fewer mpg =more fuel burned. How can this help plus damage to engines resulting in replacement parts or vehicles which consumes more resource in the end. I will use minimal ethanol whatever the cost. Gullible politicians causing problems for sensible people yet again and more money for snake oil salesmen posing as environmentalists

15/07/19: please no ethanol
bring back lead

20/03/19 - Climate change is happening and mankind is making it happen by making CO2, burning ethanol will slow it.  We should use more ethanol.  If you just increase the compression of your car or bike you'll do better mileage and have more power

30/10/18 - When touring with my tight wad mate he was spot on with the mileage per gallon calculations (in  France which has the higher ethanol) I always paid to fill my bike with ‘supere’, after some days we arrived at a petrol station that didn’t have the cheaper high ethanol fuel so we both filled up and yes we got more miles to the gallon, so if you use more is that eco friendly? I suspect this is a ploy to allow the fuel retailers to sell poorer and poorer quality fuel for the same money!

25/10/18 - I will resort to distilling the fuel to remove the ethanol

24/10/18 - Its not just cars and motorcycles this will affect, although that’s bad enough, but those of us who use petrol lawnmowers, strimmers, chainsaws etc will be affected detrimentally, as the ethanol will ruin rubber seals, gaskets and fuel lines in these machines.

23/10/18 - The answer is ..NO..if I cn help it

22/10/18 - Not a chance. I have several 80s bikes and have no intention of ruining them. Plus just brought the most expensive car of my life so have no intention of risking that as I will be paying for it for the next 10 years.

22/10/18 - I only use super unleaded in all my bikes and car new and old and mine work better for it

22/10/18 - Its all about scaring the sh*t out of idiots  to pay more tax . The end

22/10/18 - Very sad to hear this I ride classic motor cycles and only us BP ultimate petrol due to the fact it has low or less Ethanol than other fuel companies, and have not suffered any of the problems caused by fuels containing Ethanol, users of older machines need to be considered due to the fact that we cover much less mileage per year, unhappy 78 year old.

22/10/18 - I personally will not use E10 in any of my vehicles/ bikes

16/09/18 - Don't you need a different/special engine oil for this, and hasn't there been a few incidents around the world where they added to much ethanol and its wrecked car engines.

13/09/18 - not of i can help it it does to much damage il use an additive to stabilise it

13/09/18 - It’s been in Australia for a few years now. Only people who don’t care about their car or motorcycle use ethanol fuel mix e95 fuel. Even though Australia uses sugar cane ethanol, cleaner and more sustainable than America corn syrup ethanol. Everyone else uses premium only in motorcycle and performance vehicles 98-105 it cleans as you drive and no ethanol. Ethanol stuffs up modern cars fuel pumps and efi systems. It also breaks down the oil stuffing up engines. Gumming up in motorcycle Just go to any mechanical shop and ask in Australia.

13/09/18 - It has done more damage than good in Australia

13/09/18 - Why can't the world switch to using aspen fuel, at the moment its horrendously expensive, like £18.95 a gallon, but if everyone used aspen it would become cheaper, it dosent attract moisture or go off, keeps engines spotless, and doesn't contaminate the environment, its completely ethanol free.

13/09/18 - Nope - it makes tank on my bike swell. Massive problem for Aprilias.

13/09/18 - Simple solution would be to cut the tax on 10% Ethanol petrol then we’d all be clambering to buy it

13/09/18 - Seeing as man made CO2 had NO scientifically supported effect on the world average temperature, (which been falling for a good while now, by the way). Who in their right mind thinks using food to make fuel is good for the environment?? And destroying the Indonesian rain forests to plant palm oil trees, is not good for the environment or the Orangutans who's natural habitat is being destroyed by that.

          13/09/18 - "man made CO2 had NO scientifically supported effect on the world average temperature, (which been falling for a good while now, by the way)." Well none of that is true. In fact, it's the opposite of true.

          13/09/18 - Read a book.

          13/09/18 - Are you related to Donald Trump? Or just plain dumb?

          13/09/18 - sorry your wrong!! Look it up? You won't hear it on the BBC unfortunately. There has been no significant rise in avg work temp since the millennium, and it's been dropping for the last few years. But don't let the truth spoil the political tax grab. The sun has gone into a grand minimum phase, IF it follow the previous trend in ten years, the Thames will freeze up in winter.

          13/09/18 - wrong wrong wrong, record high temps consistently being recorded across the UK with the ave mean temp over even just the last 100yrs or when met records began spattered with the odd record cold winter = climate change. Why don't we scientifically lock you in a room and gradually pump in C02 and record the results you know scientifically....! Burning fossil fuels is damaging to the environment, extracting them is even more so, just look at Dakota, Deepwater Horizon, Valdez etc etc etc The most damaging to our planet is climate change deniers, Tory frackers and Donald Trump....your in good company

          13/09/18 - Sorry that English temp is weather, not climate. Read up on it, like I have, very enlightening. And the way they fiddle the monthly figures is a laugh! One day at high temp and 29 days at low temp, its the hotest month on record!! I've been following and reading scientific reports for 35 years. As I used to be sure man made global warming must be real, but it's not! Since the last ice age, we've been on a slow warming trend, its called an inter glacial period.

          13/09/18 - Nobody's denying climate change, it's been going on billions of years, it is after all what ended the at least 5 ice ages over 2 billion years, was it manmade Co2 then? According to the ice core records, and not Al Gore's shameful misinterpretation of them, never in recorded history has the earth warmed due to rising levels of Co2, quite the opposite in fact, rising Co2 levels follow warming by some 700 to 2000 years. We are possibly in fact, as predicted by numerous real climate scientists and not railway engineers and failed politicians, on the edge of another ice age.

          13/09/18 - Ironically it's the only thing the dunce Trump is right about.

          13/09/18 - "Read up on it, like I have, very enlightening." What have you been reading? Because it isn't the scientific literature that climatologists (you know, the people who know what they're talking about) publish, read and review. 97% of them have, based on the data, come to the conclusion that anthropogenic climate change is warming the planet, primarily through CO2.

          13/09/18 - no its not. Read up on the Beer Law. Any heat CO2 can absorb has been at saturation level for a long time, adding more CO2 will NOT make any difference. At about 125ppm CO2 plants start to effectively suffocate. The increase in CO2 has in fact greened the planet, and even NASA agree with that. CO2 is giving crops a higher yeild year after year!! A so called climatologist produced the Hockey stick graph, you've seen it??? Did you know that is based on ONE bristle cone pine tree??? The computer softerware written by Mann, would produce a hockey stick graph from any set of random data! Back in 1972, a group of real scientists produced a report that concludes bristle cone pines cannot be usedcas a proxy for temperature!! Too many variables affect the growth rings!! The truth is out there, difficult to find, because people don't want to. By the way that 97 % figure?? It was the response a student got, when he sent out a lot of questionnaires for his thesis. But only a few replied, but of course 97% of them looks like a better statistic than 15. Ask a scientist if peeing in lake Michigan will raise the water level, of course it will. Same as asking a scientist if CO2 absorbs heat. By the way, there is no sea level rise either. Ask Nils-Axel Morner!!

13/09/18 - No problem in France I use it !

13/09/18 - Had a 2003 Audi petrol, they said DO NOT use ethanol at all! On later cars they modified the petrol filter, such that it has a return to the tank pipe!! This allows all the gunk to return to the tank and not get to the injection system. Luckily, Esso super did not have any ethanol in it, so I used that and car ran OK. Sold to guy, told him only use Esso, he used cheap supermarket petrol, and car ran horribly.

13/09/18 - they can keep the sh*t it is already doing enough damadge to my bike as it is

13/09/18 - Definitely not

13/09/18 - ''E10 is more environmentally friendly,''....this statement is fundamentally flawed given the destruction of the forests and agricultural land to feed the increased demand.

          13/09/18 - And where does the ethanol come from?

          13/09/18 - spot on!

13/09/18 - Weve had this for a while down under, the pumps are marked , just have to be careful not to use it if you dont want to. My old Yamaha doesnt seem to like it, nor does ouralmost as old Mazda Bravo.

13/09/18 - Nope my Ducati 999 is not “compatible” with e10

13/09/18 - it needs to happen but i won't be using it. From what I've read only 95 RON will be E10. I use 98/99 so it won't affect me.

13/09/18 - I would guess for 2 strokes the oil is lubricating the induction side so may be less of an issue..

          13/09/18 - Still goes off quick & gums up the carbs

13/09/18 - That's my fzr screwed

13/09/18 - It's going to put most classic cars and bikes with carburettors off the road, I had a Velocette with a fibreglass fuel tank which dissolved even in the 5% ethanol fuel.

13/09/18 - Esso super is currently ethanol free in most of the UK. Hoping it stays that way!

          13/09/18 - Interesting! I've been using super when I can get it but never esso. I'll make a point of finding it if what you say is true! What more can you tell us Steve?

          13/09/18 - Quote from Esso website:-The majority of unleaded 95 Octane petrol sold in the UK contains up to 5% ethanol as required under the Government’s Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO). There is currently no requirement for renewable fuel (such as ethanol) to be present in super unleaded (97 grade petrol). Esso super unleaded petrol (Synergy Supreme+ Unleaded 97) is ethanol free (except in Devon, Cornwall, the Teesside area and Scotland). We would therefore advise anyone who has concerns about the presence of ethanol in petrol to use Synergy Supreme+ – providing they do not fill up in Devon or Cornwall, the Teesside area or Scotland. Our Synergy Fuels: Diesel Supreme+ Diesel Unleaded Supreme+ Unleaded

          13/09/18 - Which Petrol stations in London sell Ethanol Free Super Unleaded? I have heard mixed reports on this, but nothing 100%

          13/09/18 - All Esso garages

          13/09/18 - ive just contacted the esso garage near Tenterden and they said their supreme contains from 0-5 % ethanol, so I think it dosent matter where you go its all a very grey area.

13/09/18 - Stock up on fuel pumps

13/09/18 - Any bike with carbs once we are forced to use E15 will become incontinent.. I say F.U Government and will do this, there is no way I will use that sh*t in any of my old bikes.

13/09/18 - Yeah... BP, the company that kept its head office in the Isle of Man because of tax reasons and is now moving its head office to India because reasons. They really give a sh*t about the British economy.

13/09/18 - We unfortunately have it in the USA and it hard on fuel system components and absorbs water, creating nasty deposits! Also forget to mention, some plastic fuel tanks swell and deform with E10.

13/09/18 - Still better off taking it out yourself I say


13/09/18 - I remember when it was introduced into RSA way back when, so many cars had problems with the ethanol reacting with certain metals in the carbs and fuel systems because of it. Garages made a fortune making them ethanol friendly. Hope modern vehicles are already ethanol ready.

13/09/18 - Not in my bike, ethanol is nasty, Shell super/avgas mix for my 2 stroke race bike.

13/09/18 - You can get the additives to add to the fuel to decrease the effects the ethanol has on the internals

          13/09/18 - Yes - this is Wemoto's most popular brand

13/09/18 - The motor runs normal. Problem with that juice are the feullines. We have that fuel for years now in germany. Its a problem for modern cars. The older cars dont give a sh*t* about that.

13/09/18 - As long as Its from BRITISH PETROLEUM = Supports our Economy but Rubber tubes & seals will need changing more. Especially as silicon hoses ain't liked for style or size ;-) or cost to planner as it doesn't come from trees & That Money cost makes this stuff more harmful but think English oil fields are getting dry till we Steel another Countrys oil since colonies are getting smaller & dry

13/09/18 - If it's cheep we will get it .then you can charge more for the real stuff

13/09/18 - Carries on like this will end up running on race fuel not pump stuff

13/09/18 - Yet another sh*t* product the USA will dump on us post Brexit, while Johnson et al will profit handsomely from the deal. Just as Blair has over Iraq etc.

          13/09/18 - its been in mainland Europe for a few years.

          13/09/18 - Has sweet f*ck all to do with Brexit. It's been on the cards to come here for years.

13/09/18 - Nope. Tried it in three cars. Although they run ok you had to give the car more throttle to get the same performance

13/09/18 - Carb seals will suffer and God alone knows what it'll do to older injection systems

13/09/18 - What's it like for 2 stroke?

13/09/18 - Totally fu#ked my fuel pump filters when I had to use this Sh*t* in the states.

Posted by Daisy Cordell
for Wemoto News on 12 September 2018 in General News



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