|E10 petrol is coming to the UK – will it affect your vehicle? |
What will the 2030 ban on Petrol & Deisel vehicles mean to you?
|From September this year, (2021) the UK government will allow the introduction of E10 petrol at filling stations. ‘E10’ is a reference to the percentage of ethanol mixed into the petrol. Currently, the UK’s normal ‘baseline’ petrol is E5. It contains 5% ethanol, so E10 contains twice the amount. The government claims that CO2 production will be cut by as much as 750,000 tonnes annually as a result of this change, but there could be some negative effects, too. Here we explain what they could be…|
|What is ethanol? Ethanol is ethyl alcohol, a plant-based biofuel made from biomass such as corn or sugar cane. Being plant-based, it’s a renewable form of fuel, not a fossil fuel.|
Ethanol absorbs water If your vehicle is less than 20 years old and is driven regularly (at least once a week), you’re unlikely to notice any differences when using E10 petrol. But if your vehicle is left unused for a couple of weeks or more, the water content in the fuel will rise, which could cause corrosion in the fuel system and poor starting and performance.
Ethanol is a solvent Ethanol will slowly eat through rubber, plastic and fibreglass. This will affect rubber seals and hoses in the fuel systems of older vehicles in particular, causing the material to perish and eventually leak. One solution is to replace them with special ethanol-proof components (fuel hose, seals, etc.). Ethanol is particularly bad news for solder, so older vehicles with carburettors and brass floats will be especially vulnerable.
Ethanol is 34% less energy-dense than petrol So to get the same power output from your engine, that accelerator pedal is going to have to be pressed harder! Obviously, this will have an effect on your vehicle’s fuel consumption.
|Will my vehicle be affected? The government claims there are currently around 600,000 vehicles on the road in the UK that should avoid using E10. Generally speaking, if your vehicle was made after 2000, it should be okay. Check the GOV.UK website here.|
What should I do if my vehicle can’t use E10? The good news is that the government has promised that E5 fuel will be available for at least five years. The not so good news is that only filling stations that sell more than 1,000,000 litres of fuel in total will need to ensure one of the fuels on offer is E5 (with some exceptions). You can be sure that, where available, E5 prices will rise accordingly.
Vehicles in storage Fuel left in the tank for weeks will begin to degrade. The ethanol will absorb more moisture from condensation, and begin to separate out from the petrol it was mixed with. This will cause corrosion in metal fuel system components and could cause other problems. Certain types of plastic and fibreglass ‘swell’ when exposed to ethanol. Plastic fuel tanks seem especially affected by this, with mountings no longer aligning and sender unit caps no longer fitting.
One possible solution is an additive that, when combined with the fuel, stabilises the ethanol, preventing it from separating out and helping to prevent corrosion. There are many suitable additives available, such as Millers Ethanol protection or Lucas Oil Ethanol fuel conditioner. Check with your owner’s club or the Federation of British Historical Vehicle Clubs.
So is ethanol in fuel a good idea? Given the problems it causes for older vehicles, the increase in fuel consumption and the increasing amount of land now used for fuel production that used to grow food, the jury’s still out on this one.
|Its worth keeping in mind that Autogas will, of course, not be a problem. So running on LPG will mean you need a lot less petrol in your tank. When E5 petrol is more expensive as a result of the introduction of E10, LPG will help keep costs down.|
|How will the upcoming ban on petrol and diesel car sales affect you?|
|The UK government is banning the sale of all new petrol and diesel-engined cars and vans from 1 January 2030. The legislation is also set to affect many new hybrid-engined cars at the same time, although plug-in hybrids will continue to be sold new until 2035. Here Martynn explains what it all means for those of us who want to stick with an internal combustion engine…|
|How does the 2030 ban affect me? You can still buy new petrol and diesel cars and vans right up until the end of the decade. Or you can buy a pure electric car and take advantage of the government’s ‘plug-in car grant’, which applies to fully electric vehicles costing less than £35,000, but it’s been reduced to a maximum of £2500. The grant has been scrapped altogether for hybrids.|
The only thing you’ll notice in this decade, as a driver of a petrol or diesel-engined car, is where you can drive it. This is especially the case with diesel cars. Bristol, for example, has opened the floodgates by proposing a 100% ban on private diesel vehicles in the city. Other cities are likely to follow.
Can I still drive my current car after 2030? This has been one of the most misunderstood aspects of the upcoming ban. Yes, you can. The government is trying to bring about a shift to electric, but not at the risk of becoming a dictatorship over all things automotive.
What about classic cars? It’s business as usual – the classic car industry in the UK is worth around six billion pounds, and the government isn’t going to want that to go away.
The only downside is that there may one day be a hard line of what is considered a classic. The government will want to avoid people driving a 1998 Mondeo and calling it a classic to get around the rules. However, the same rules for historic vehicle tax exemption (the vehicle needs to have been built before 8 January 1980) may still be applied.
|Can I buy a petrol or diesel car after 2030? As long as it’s a used car, yes, and you’ll be able to buy and sell a car privately as well as at dealers. In fact some of the latter may try to get around the petrol and diesel car ban by pre-registering new stock. They currently do that anyway, because it enables them to meet sales targets, but if electric car infrastructure and model availability can’t keep up with demand, there may be an explosion in sales of ‘nearly new’ petrol and diesel vehicles after 2030. The government may opt to introduce further restrictions, such as a ban on the import of new ICE vehicles, to close that potential loophole.|
Will fuel stations disappear? Most of them are unlikely to vanish because they’ll be converted from dispensing fossil fuels to electricity, but we’re talking many years ahead. In the meantime, more of them will install charging points for the coming boom in EVs, and improving battery technology will reduce charging times. Replenishing your car is unlikely to ever be as quick as filling a fuel tank, but it should be a lot less painful than it is at the moment.
The elephant in the room is the future cost of petrol or diesel. The government may decide to increase the rate of the tax to make more people make the move to electric. Also, as sales of petrol and diesel fall, so will profits for the oil companies, and prices will have to rise to fill that gap. The likes of BP and Shell won’t go bust, though, because they’re investing huge amounts of money in charging infrastructure.
What will happen to the value of my car after the ban? If you intend to keep whatever you’re driving now into the next decade, don’t worry – unless it’s a supercar the depreciation curve of a typical car means it’ll have lost much of its value within the first five years. And there’s nothing to worry about if you buy a used car in a few years – demand will be strong for a good while after 2030. Used car values may even strengthen if the electric car situation (charging infrastructure and model availability) isn’t looking particularly rosy by the turn of the decade.
We’d be more concerned if you wanted to buy a new petrol or diesel-engined car as 2030 approaches. There’s likely to be a new form of road tax (VED) in place by then, to make up for a fall in road tax revenue the government collects as electric cars become more popular. That’s because VED is zero-rated for cars with no emissions. So without a crystal ball to gaze into, we won’t know how new car values will fare until we’re well into the second half of the ’20s.