The Department for Transport (DfT) have said that switching UK fuel pumps to E10 unleaded petrol instead of the current E5 could reduce CO2 emissions by 750,000 tonnes in just one year – that’s the equivalent of taking 350,000 cars off the road.
Made with ten per cent bioethanol, lower-carbon E10 unleaded burns more cleanly than the current 5% E5 unleaded; with the DfT stating that it would reduce the average CO2 emissions of a petrol vehicle by 2%. As mentioned in the intro, that 2% adds up to a potential 750,000 tonne reduction in CO2 emissions.
E10 unleaded isn’t a new fuel and has already been adopted in a number of countries including France, Germany and Belgium. The fuel is actually already legal in the UK but it isn’t widely available, something that these plans would change dramatically. In theory, the switch would be a quick win when it comes to reducing CO2 emissions ahead of the government’s target for net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Speaking of the swap Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, said:
“The next 15 years will be absolutely crucial for slashing emissions from our roads, as we all start to feel the benefits of the transition to a zero-emission future.
“But before electric cars become the norm, we want to take advantage of reduced CO2 emissions today. This small switch to petrol containing bioethanol at 10% will help drivers across country reduce the environmental impact of every journey. Overall this could equate to about 350,000 cars being taken off our roads entirely.”
In their proposal, the DfT mentioned that around 700,000 classic or cherished cars in the UK will not be able to run on the new fuel but noted that they expect the majority of those to have been scrapped by the time the switch is actioned. For those that still wish to run an incompatible car, ‘super’ grade fuel would be made available that continued to be mixed with E5 unleaded. Premium grade unleaded would also be switched to E10.
The DfT intends to complete the E5 to E10 switch as early as 2021, following a consultation period that runs until 29th April (which you can take part in here). Do you think switching to a different fuel grade is a good idea? We’d like to read your thoughts on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin.