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All the key questions about E10 petrol change and how to drive smarter


CONFUSED about “greener” E10 petrol? Or perhaps you’ve no idea what it even is? In both cases you are not alone.

There are two key facts you need to know about the introduction of the new greener unleaded that hit forecourts this week.


Learn more about why E10 will cost more for drivers[/caption]

The change is good for the environment BUT it will cost you more.

Most motorists will pay £30 a year more as E10 is less fuel efficient. But those with an older motor, who can’t use E10, will end up paying £300-plus since they have to now get pricier premium-grade fuel.

We explain why it will cost you more plus answer some key questions – and also show you how to cut down your fuel usage.

Key questions

What is E10?

It’s a reference to ethanol, and the amount of it, that is now added to unleaded. With E10 that’s ten per cent – up from the five per cent in the E5 sold up to now. Adding in ethanol, a plant-based alcohol, makes unleaded greener.


Since it’s got less petrol in it, cars will pump out less greenhouse gas – 750,000 tonnes less CO2, MPs reckon. That’s like taking 350,000 cars off the roads.


Some old cars are not compatible with E10 petrol[/caption]

What’s the hit on my wallet?

The cost per litre will be the same – 134.5p – as it is now, but cars will not get as many miles per litre from E10, the Government admits.

Cars will use 1.6 per cent more E10 than they would E5. That would be an extra £30 a year for most.

The drop in fuel economy is worse in smaller engines, the RAC warns. But those who drive older motors will end up paying more . . . 

Is it true it doesn’t work with old cars?

Correct. Some older cars need to use E5, which will cost around 10p a litre more since it is now only available from the premium unleaded pump.

So that means on average it is 145.5p a litre, up to 163.9p on motorways, the AA says. Over a year that’s an extra £312, the RAC reckons.

Around 700,000 cars are affected. All cars made since 2011 are fine with the new fuel, and most since 2002 should be, but any made before then will likely not work with E10.

You can check at gov.uk/check-vehicle-e10-petrol.

Will E10 break my older car?

Don’t panic if you put some E10 in the tank accidentally. The AA says: “Engines that aren’t compatible with the fuel will not sustain damage from short-term use. Fill up with E5 (super) once there is room in the tank.”

CONOR HURMAN knows the new E10 fuel might cost him a few extra quid every year, especially as his motor is a gas-guzzling Audi S3.

But the 21-year-old commercial property surveyor knows it is vital we cut carbon emissions and the fuel change has got him thinking about alternatives.

Conor says: “With fuel prices creeping up this year, I have been thinking about how much I spend and what I could do to cut the bill.

“I could drive a bit more sensibly – a bit more like my dad! The Audi is quite sporty, so I could get something more fuel-efficient and I have started to look at electric cars.

“I am just not sure if I should wait a couple of years, when there are more charging points and the range for electric vehicles improves.”

Conor, from Papworth Everard, Cambs, drives 20 miles to work each day plus to sites around the country when required.

He forks out around £300 a month in fuel.

How to save on motoring

PLAY YOUR REWARD AND CASHBACK CARDS – save £30+: Sign up to loyalty schemes such as Tesco Clubcard, Nectar, Shell’s Go+, BPme rewards.

If you fill up £30 a week, you are spending £1,500 a year – so make sure you bank loyalty points.

You would earn 750 of them on a Tesco Clubcard which are worth £7.50 in store or as much as £30 in vouchers to use at restaurants.

Also use a cashback credit card. American Express offers one which is fee-free and comes with five per cent cashback on the first £2,000 spent in three months, then it is 0.5 per cent. On the same £30 a week fuel spend that’s £25.35.

SHOP AROUND – save £10 per tank: BP is typically 6p a litre dearer than Asda, according to the AA. Supermarkets offer some of the lowest prices and motorway service stations are the priciest.

PetrolPrices.com can help you shop around. Enter your postcode and how far you are willing to travel.

Spending ten minutes coming off the motorway can save drivers more than £10 each time they fill up.

SAY NO TO TIRED TYRES – save £50 a year: Low tyre pressure increases drag. Pump them up and the car is three per cent more efficient, says Money Saving Expert.

A good quality energy saver tyre improves fuel economy by 2.5 miles per gallon compared to the worst, Which? found. That is a saving of £50 a year on fuel.

Look out for the tyre’s label – A is the best and G the worst.

DON’T BE LEWIS – save £360: Do the opposite of Lewis Hamilton and cut fuel usage by 30 per cent. Accelerating and braking less can cut fuel usage by 30 per cent.

Roll gradually to a light and if it changes before you stop you save pounds over a year as getting a car going uses the most fuel.

Also, don’t go too fast generally. The AA says going at 80mph will use 25 per cent more fuel than 70 mph. Slowing down to 60mph uses nine per cent less than 70mph.

Less revving, hard braking and slower speeds can easily shave a quarter off the fuel bill – £1,440 if you put in £30 a week.

BAN THE ROOF RACK AND AC – save around £50: An empty roof rack adds 16 per cent drag and a roof box 39 per cent, according to the Energy Saving Trust.

Air con and heating can also use fuel. So dress for the weather inside your car. But if you are hot when going at speed, don’t just open the window – it creates drag.

Take out any junk in the car you drive around with – it weighs it down.

DON’T OWN A CAR – save £100s! If you live in a town or city you may not need a car – so why not rent one when needed?

Zipcar has 3,000 parked on residential streets around the UK and lets you hire one by the hour.

Others like Turo and Getaround are like AirBnB for cars. Rent out yours using one of these services when you aren’t using it or hire one.

Or list upcoming journeys on Blablacar.co.uk and find passengers to contribute to the cost of the petrol.


Don’t drive your car like Lewis Hamilton, take it easy[/caption]

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