E10 Fuel: What it is, what it costs and what it means for your tax rebate
19th August 2021
Road users with their ears to the ground will already have heard the rumblings about the new, greener petrol coming to UK pumps. For most people, the switch should be pretty simple – but watch out. Not every vehicle’s going to thrive on the new E10 fuel. Even if yours is completely compatible, there could be some hidden catches to keep an eye on.
What is E10 Fuel?
So, what’s all the fuss about? E10 is basically just a new petrol blend that doubles the percentage of bioethanol in the mix. It lowers our reliance on fossil fuels slightly, and as of the 1st of September it’s set to become the standard unleaded option at the pumps in England, Wales and Scotland. Northern Ireland’s looking to follow suit early next year.
Can all cars use E10 Fuel?
Does this matter? Well, that depends. If you’re the owner of one of the estimated 600,000 vehicles that don’t play well with E10, you’re going to need to pay attention. While your engine will still run on the stuff, you could be looking at some pretty nasty internal damage over time.
Instead of being refined out of oil, bioethanol comes from plant-based sources like sugars, grain crops and even sawdust. Up to now, E5 95-octane has been the basic unleaded petrol in our pumps. As the name suggests, that contains up to 5% bioethanol. E10 doubles that up, which is good news in terms of cutting down on fossil fuels, but the shift is going to cause a few bumps in the road.
Pretty much any car manufactured after 2011 should be fine with E10. In fact, most vehicles made this millennium should be okay. Even so, it’s estimated that around 5% of road users will struggle with the new petrol. E10 can damage some kinds of metal, leading to corrosion and potentially leaky parts. Over time, filling up with E10 could cause a range of faults if your car’s not up to it. If you’re not sure whether your vehicle’s compatible, use the checker on the government website to find out.
How much does E10 Fuel cost?
The other thing to keep in mind is the cost. The government’s pretty keen to point out the benefits of E10 - like the fact that it’ll cut CO2 output by 750,000 tonnes a year.
If you can’t use E10, though, you’ll be stuck paying more for the “super E5” option. Even if you can run on E10, you could still find yourself with higher fuel bills. While it’s a greener fuel overall, it’s a little less economical than the petrol you’re probably used to. Estimates range from cost increases of £18-£41 per year for a typical road user. If you travel a lot for work, that’s obviously going to be worth knowing. Basically, while the fuel shouldn’t cost any more when you fill up, the chances are you’ll be topping off your tank a little more often with E10.
The other side to that coin, of course, is that when your work travel costs go up, so does your yearly tax rebate. Take a look at the free RIFT mileage calculator to get an idea of what HMRC owes you, keep your details up to date on your RIFT app if you’re already a customer. If you’ve never claimed with RIFT before, now’s the perfect time to get your tax refund rolling with the UK’s leading experts. When the rules of the road change, you’re always better off with RIFT.