Warning as motorists face higher costs over E10 fuel switch

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Owners of older cars being warned about change to standard unleaded petrol, which might cause damage to their vehicles – and will cost more

By Toby Walne, Financial Mail on Sunday

Published: 16:52 EDT, 4 September 2021 | Updated: 16:52 EDT, 4 September 2021

Owners of older cars are being warned about a change to standard unleaded petrol, which might cause damage to their vehicles – and which will cost them more money. 

Petrol-powered lawnmowers and other garden machinery such as chainsaws and wood chippers may also be affected. 

Standard unleaded petrol is changing to E10 this month, which contains ten per cent ethanol. The previous mix contained just five per cent. More than 600,000 cars – from ageing classic motors to some built up to 2011 – may not be compatible with the new blend.

Eco-friendly: Standard unleaded petrol is changing to E10 this month, which contains ten per cent ethanol

This new fuel is more eco-friendly as it burns less carbon in the environment. However, the higher proportion of ethanol can cause damage to rubber and other parts of older vehicles. 

Motors designed to run only on the older mix will have to switch to the more expensive 'E5 super unleaded'. This will be offered at most – but not all – petrol stations. 

But a spokesman for the RAC warns: 'Super unleaded can cost as much as 12p a litre more so motorists of older cars should now brace themselves for a higher fuel bill.' 

Cars with a standard 60-litre sized fuel tank already pay an average of £1.35 for a standard litre of unleaded. So the cost of filling up can already be £81. Those switching to super-unleaded can expect to pay around £7 more at the pumps. 

You can check if your vehicle will run on E10 at gov.uk/check-vehicle-e10-petrol.

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