New UK fuel which may damage classic cars will be introduced ‘towards end of the year’

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The new updates will introduce new E10 fuel as standard across UK petrol stations in a bid to reduce overall vehicle emissions. A Department for Transport consultation last year confirmed the new petrol would come into effect in 2021 but no details were given on when exactly this would happen.

However, with January 2021 arriving the DfT have still not released any information on when petrol pumps could be expected to change.

However, Gordon Balmer, spokesperson for the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) has confirmed the fuel will launch this year despite the uncertainty.

Speaking exclusively to, he warned the scheme would likely replace the standard fuel with current E5 petrol becoming the ‘premium’ and more expensive grade.

However, he added owners of many classic vehicles would need to ensure they continued to use E5 fuel despite the changes.

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Mr Balmer said: “By the middle of last year the outcome of the consultation was revealed and if the introduction goes ahead as proposed there will be a mandated by Government roll out sometime towards the end of this year.

“E10 will contain a minimum of 5.5 percent and a maximum of 10 percent Bio-Ethanol and will replace the standard ‘Premium’ E5 Petrol.

“For those vehicles which tend to be ones produced before 2010 which are unable to use E10, they will have to use the default grade which will be ‘Super’ E5 which contains up to 5 percent of Bio-Ethanol.”

The RAC has previously warned up to 600,000 cars will not be compatible with the new E10 fuel when it is launched.

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They warn owners of any vehicle built before 2002 to avoid the new ER10 fuel while some models built before 2011 can also be affected.

However, the DfT has previously warned just one percent of total vehicles will be incompatible with the new fuel when it is launched.

Classic car specialists at Hagerty Insurance have warned running on E10 fuel can cause a “variety of issues in older cars”.

The higher amount of ethanol can absorb water which will find its way into the car and lead to damage.

Hagerty has warned this can lead to condensation in the vehicle’s fuel tanks and cause corrosion in brass, copper, lead, tin and zinc components.

Mr Balmer said the PRA was working on a “consumer awareness programme” ahead of the new fuel’s launch to make owners aware of the risks.

The DfT said experience from other countries suggests a comprehensive communications programme was important.

This is vital to ensure motorists are well aware of the change in grade and how this could affect them individually.

Mr Balmer told “The Petrol Retailers Association is currently working with the Department for Transport on the date when E10 will be introduced and also helping to produce a consumer awareness programme explaining E10 and which vehicles can use it.

“It will be introduced nationally across the UK and will be available at most petrol stations except for those very remote locations.”

The DfT has said it will ensure the supply of E5 fuel was maintained through the high octane super grade. 

This protection for E5 fuel will last for five years before it will be reviewed. 

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