The above link from the BBC homepage announces the proposal for petrol stations across the UK to adopt more environmentally friendly E10 petrol to replace the current E5. This is good news indeed and will be interesting to see if Boris discusses this proposal specifically while chairing his first cabinet meeting on climate change today.
The “E” in E10 stands for ethanol – in this case bioethanol – with E10 fuel containing 10% bioethanol per volume, up from (you guessed it) 5% found in E5. Bioethanol is a type of alcohol made less so from carbons and more so from sugar, corn, or wheat thus making driving more environmentally friendly. The article goes on to say that (according to the Department for Transport) the move could “cut CO2 emissions from transport by 750,000 tonnes per year”, which is the equivalent of taking 350,000 cars off the road each year! This is a seriously impressive figure.
There aren’t really any constraints for you to using E10 fuel in your car, unless it dates from before 1985 and runs on leaded gas and is carburetted (as opposed to fuel injected). Put another way, about 90% of cars in Western Europe will be just fine running on E10 petrol. Speaking of Western Europe, the UK would fall inline with other EU countries already running on E10, namely Belgium, the Netherlands, Finland, France and Germany.
All is not perfect with E10, however; the disadvantages are that because it has more water per volume it can cause corrosion to plastics and rubbers, and in some cases seals and gaskets. However, if you don’t leave your car to sit for months on end, you should be just fine with E10. Further, various tests have shown that fuel consumption may actually increase using E10, but really only marginally so the gains made from reduced C02 emissions courtesy of more bioethanol will more than offset this.
Stay tuned as to whether this proposal gains any traction!