A new green petrol that could soon be introduced to forecourts will be incompatible with over almost one million cars in the UK, a report shows.
Higher-ethanol E10 fuel – which is claimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two per cent – is being considered by the Government as part of plans to achieve the the nation’s climate change commitments.
However, more than 800,000 UK petrol vehicles – including family favourites like the Volkswagen Golf and Nissan Micra – can’t run on it, according to a new report from the RAC Foundation.
Fuel for thought: A new petrol grade – called E10 – could be introduced in the UK by 2020, but almost one million cars can’t run on it, according to the latest report
The Department for Transport recently opened a consultation into E10 petrol being introduced in as little as two year’s time.
It contains 10 per cent bioethanol compared to the five per cent contained in current E5 unleaded fuel – also known as 95 unleaded on forecourts – and should be better for the environment.
The Government is proposing to guarantee the availability of E5 petrol only until 2020 and the introduction of E10 would also likely spell the end for super-unleaded, or 97 unleaded – fuel.
Ministers had already conceded that around one million cars wouldn’t be compatible with E10, believed to be older models.
New research by the RAC Foundation has identified that many of these will be popular older family cars that are still being used by cash-strapped families today.
Recent laws have dictated that all new petrol cars sold in the European Union from 2011 must able to run on E10.
Close scrutiny of the DVLA’s database of vehicles currently on the road revealed that plenty of incompatible petrol cars are currently being used up and down the country.
It said that 868,517 cars owned by Britons today won’t be able to run on the new higher-ethanol fuel – include 10 per cent of petrol-powered Volkswagen Golfs.
However, it estimated that this would drop to 634,309 by June 2020 as drivers replace some of these vehicles.
Of these 2020 cars, 28,000 would be Volkswagen’s hugely popular family hatchbacks, 18,000 Mazda MX-5 convertibles and 16,000 Nissan Micras – which were all built in the UK between 1992 and 2010.
RAC Foundation said 42,213 Volkswagen Golfs currently in UK ownership aren’t compatible with E10 petrol. By 2020, this figure is likely to drop to around 28,000
|MAKE & MODEL||COMPATIBLE IN 2017||INCOMPATIBLE IN 2017||INCOMPATIBLE IN 2020 (EST.)|
|Source: RAC Foundation|
While the study found that 148,299 UK models manufactured after 2000 are incompatible, the introduction of the new fuel is likely to cause huge issues for classic car owners and enthusiasts.
If E10-grade petrol is used without modification to the fuel systems of older vehicles, they are likely to suffer from vapour lock, damage to their fuel system and possibly dangerous fuel leaks.
It can also cause some seals, gaskets, metals and plastics to corrode in non-compatible vehicles.
And while the reduction in carbon emissions will be good for the environment, it is likely to make vehicles less fuel efficient by between 1.5 to 3 per cent.
The Department for Transport’s proposal would see E10 replacing current E5 petrol at all fuel stations, though larger forecourts that sell three million litres of fuel or more each year would also stock ‘protection grade’ E5 for older cars to use.
However, this arrangement would be under review from 2020 onwards, meaning E5 fuel could disappear in less that two year’s time.
Classic British cars will be impacted massively and won’t be able to use the new grade of petrol
The Mazda MX-5 is the best-selling roadster of all time, but older variants won’t be able to run on E10. The same is being said for pre-2011 Nissan Micras, which were all built in Sunderland
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.
‘This analysis shows that even in a couple of years’ time there will still be hundreds of thousands of cars on our roads that are incompatible with the new fuel.
‘Whilst some of those incompatible with E10 fuel will be historic models, many will be old but serviceable everyday run-arounds that people on a tight travel budget rely on to get about.
‘The good news is both that the vast majority of cars on our roads are able to run on E10 and that Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has recognised the need to protect the users of those older vehicles which are not E10 compatible.
‘It will be interesting to see whether the current consultation generates support for the Government’s proposed way forward.’
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