Motorists across the UK are set to shift to a greener fuel with the introduction of E10 at petrol stations in September 2021.
Following a consultation with drivers and industry, the introduction of E10 fuel, which is a mixture of petrol and ethanol made from materials including low-grade grains, sugars and waste wood, will boost the government’s ambitions to reach net zero by 2050.
Its introduction on UK roads could cut transport carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 750,000 tonnes a year – the equivalent of taking 350,000 cars off the road, or all the cars in North Yorkshire.
It will also boost job opportunities in the north east, securing up to 100 jobs with the reopening of AB Sugar’s Vivergo plant, and increasing production at existing biofuel plants including Ensus. This will support the UK’s wider bioeconomy by ensuring the materials needed for E10 are produced and refined in the UK.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We’re going further and faster than ever to cut emissions from our roads, cleaning up our air as we accelerate towards a zero-emission transport future.
“Although more and more motorists are driving electric vehicles, there are steps we can take to reduce emissions from the millions of vehicles already on our roads – the small switch to E10 petrol will help drivers across the country reduce the environmental impact of every journey, as we build back greener.”
The 2 petrol blends that are currently widely available in the UK contain no more than 5% ethanol, known as E5; the fuel being rolled out in September has up to 10%. Using bioethanol in place of traditional petrol can reduce CO2 emissions and, therefore, increasing the ethanol content of petrol could help us meet our climate change targets.
A small number of older vehicles, including classic cars and some from the early 2000s, will continue to need E5 fuel, which is why supplies of E5 petrol will be maintained in the ‘Super’ grade. We are advising motorists to use the new E10 compatibility checker to see if their vehicle is compatible.
Dr Mark Carr, Group Chief Executive of AB Sugar, said: “We are delighted to be reopening the Vivergo Fuels site today, located in the heart of the Northern Powerhouse on the back of the government’s decision to move forward with E10.
“We’ve long been calling for this introduction as E10 is one of the quickest, easiest and most cost-effective ways for the UK to reduce its carbon emissions, while providing an economic boost to sustain the British biofuels industry, and the local and national economy.
“We will be recruiting around 85 highly skilled green jobs, in addition to the core team that remained in place during its closure in the north east of England, and reopening a new market for wheat farmers in the UK.”
Grant Pearson, Director of Ensus UK Ltd, said: “The announcement today of the planned introduction of E10 fuel by the Department for Transport is excellent news – not only for the environment but also for the British bioethanol industry. E10 will mean that the majority of petrol sold in the UK will have lower greenhouse gas emissions than today, when fully introduced.
“Lowering emissions immediately for the current petrol car pool is very important – especially until electric vehicles can make a larger contribution to saving emissions in transport.
“The benefits for the UK go beyond the environment, particularly in the north east where the Ensus manufacturing facility is based, and supports thousands of jobs both directly and in the supply chain.”
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “The announcement today confirming E10 petrol will be available for motorists from this September is another step towards the 2050 net zero target. Its introduction is significant in that it assists with the decarbonisation of the existing UK car parc as well as those new cars powered by petrol engines.
“Vehicle manufacturers have been preparing for its introduction for many years so drivers can be reassured that it is compatible with most cars currently on the road. Together with the introduction of new electrified vehicles, the range of which is accelerating rapidly, this new fuel will help reduce the overall emissions of road transport for many years to come.”
Edmund King, AA president, said: “The AA supports the switch to E10, a more sustainable and greener fuel that provides a stepping stone to the phasing out fossil fuels in new cars from 2030 onwards.
“We are also satisfied that there is sufficient pump labelling to guide drivers and support to help car owners whose vehicles are not compatible with E10 to switch to the ‘protection’ grade (super fuels) as a viable alternative.”
“However, a Government impact assessment highlights that “Introducing E10 will add to fuel costs paid by motorists. Moving from E5 to E10 is estimated to reduce pump price petrol costs by 0.2 pence per litre. However, as the energy content of the fuel will also decrease, motorists will have to buy more litres of fuel. Overall fuel costs for petrol cars are therefore estimated to increase by 1.6% as a result of moving from E5 to E10.”
“That will rub many drivers the wrong way but the AA expects the Chancellor, who will get more fuel duty from more fuel consumed, will not have to increase fuel duty in the Budget next week.”