New ‘Greener’ Petrol Could Destroy 700,000 Cars

Wed 11th Mar 2020

A new bio-fuel set to be introduced to petrol station forecourts within the next year could wreck the engines of hundreds of thousands of older vehicles.

Made from a mixture of corn and wheat, the E10 petrol is 10 per cent bioethanol and will reduce carbon dioxide levels by 750,000 tonnes a year and will become the standard fuel choice on forecourts from 2021.

Whilst the new fuel mix will be greener, taking the equivalent of 350,000 cars off the road, it may also put up to 700,000 cars out of action as the higher bioethanol within the petrol can cause problems for older engines. The E10, which replaces E5, can loosen deposits in older engines which can then move and cause blockages. The new mix can also corrode seals, gaskets, metals and plastics in many popular models built less than 20 years ago.

Volkswagen Golfs, Fiat Puntos and Mazda MX-5s built in the early 2000s are all under threat, as are a range of other models built close to the turn of the century.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: "As and when E10 appears on the forecourts, drivers need to know whether their cars can use it without being damaged.

"While some of those vehicles incompatible with E10 fuel will be historic models, many will be old but serviceable everyday runabouts that people on a tight travel budget rely on to get about."

Despite the concerns, the UK Government is pushing forward with plans to introduce the new E10 fuel, which is already freely available on the continent. The Transport Secretary Grant Shapps recently admitted that the fuel plays a part in helping the nation reach a ‘zero-emission future’.

"This small switch to petrol containing bioethanol will help drivers across the country reduce the environmental impact of every journey,” Shapps said.