The Latest British Standard For Petrol Can Damage Engines

Monday, 7. April 2014

Hi, Graham Hill here, thank you so much for visiting my blog, I hope you learn a lot and as a result end up driving a great car. In order to do so you can get all the information you need by buying my book, An Insider Guide To Car Finance or use me to finance your next car. Happy driving.

This next item is of particular interest if you drive or are thinking of driving a petrol car. You may or not be aware that when petrol is manufactured, or whatever the correct expression is, it has to conform to British standards and for many years the standard blend of fuel in the UK has been known as E5.

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This means that petrol has to be blended with 5% Ethanol which cuts down greenhouse gas emissions. The downside is that it delivers 30% less power than petrol but with just 5% added the difference has hardly been noticeable. However, this is about to change because from March 2013 British Standard EN228 has allowed petrol companies to increase the ethanol content to 10%, known surprisingly as E10.

To date none seem to have adopted the new blend as it has been found to cause a problem in older cars. In the US they have investigated the differences the new blend makes to cars and found that there is a drop in economy of about 3-4% between E10 and pure petrol (E0).

In real terms, following an investigation by What Car, on a Dacia Sandero 89bhp, the drop in MPG meant a difference in fuel cost of £202 every 12,000 miles. A 98bhp Hyundai i30 had a 9.8% drop in economy between E0 and E10 amounting to an extra £16 per month. Hybrids performed a little better.

It is thought that 39% of UK road transport CO2 comes from petrol engines and Ethanol has been proposed as a quick fix to help to reduce this. The expected carbon saving is anticipated to be 58% but What Car tests have found that there is actually a slight increase in carbon emissions.

The general feel is that whilst the fuel companies won’t introduce E10 before the end of this year – it will come eventually. Before you start to panic the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders(SMMT) have said that 92.2% of all cars are OK with E10 and that cars built after 2002 should be in the clear but check the manual before filling up.

E5 will still be available so we will be back to the days of ‘Super’ grade and ‘Super Plus’ grade petrol. If a garage sells 3 million litres a year it must offer both grades, less than this and the site will need to decide which grade to offer. Retailers don’t have to identify E5 petrol however the Biofuel (labelling) Regulations state that pumps dispensing more than 5% Ethanol must clearly show it on the pumps so E10 will be clearly labelled.

Manufacturers have known about this for a few years so all new cars will be compatible with E10, yet another reason why you should lease a new car rather than HP a used car! By Graham Hill

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