WITH the recent news of E5 petrol being replaced with E10 leaving many motorists confused, experts explain what it actually means and how it affects those with older cars.

The Government introduced E10 petrol as a way of cutting tailpipe emissions. It has a 10 per cent ethanol content, up from the typical E5 used at British pumps.

However, while the vast majority of cars on the road should be fine to use the new fuel, cars built before 2002 will likely not be compatible. In the UK, all cars built since 2011 must have E10 compatibility.

Drivers can check if their vehicle can run on E10 petrol on the Government website. If it can’t, premium fuel pumps will continue to use E5 for the time being – but this will mean the price of a tank of fuel increases significantly.

The motoring experts at LeaseCar.uk have simplified what this change means for motorists and the environment along with what car owners can do if their car isn’t compatible with the new petrol grade standard.

A spokesperson from LeaseCar.uk said: “Drivers should be aware of this change and what it means, but sometimes we get given so much information that it actually confuses us further. That's why we wanted to break down in the simplest of terms what this change to E10 petrol actually means.

“It’s important to get one thing clear, if you own a diesel vehicle you won’t have to worry about this. E5 and E10 are types of petrol so this won’t affect your car.

“In the long run it is much better for our environment and a lot of countries have already made that switch like Germany and France.”

What is the difference between E5 and E10 petrol?

The current petrol grade is E5 which is made up of 95% regular unleaded petrol and 5% renewable ethanol (hence the name).

Tim Alcock from LeaseCar.uk said that E10 will be 'much more beneficial' to the environment as it will contain 10% ethanol and 90% of regular unleaded petrol. Essentially this will cut down the CO2 transmissions from our vehicles.

What do you do if your car is too old?

Cars which are manufactured from 2011 onwards will be able to take the new E10 petrol grade.

“If you’re unsure whether or not your car is compatible, the government has created a section on their website where you can check if E10 is suitable for your car,” adds Tim.

Cars manufactured will be able to use E5 petrol at most petrol stations by purchasing the ‘super’ grade petrol which will be more expensive.

If your car is not compatible, there will still be E5 petrol available to use, it will just be more expensive, said Tim.

What happens if you fill your car with the wrong kind of petrol?

Tim said: “Drivers should also take care when filling up their cars to avoid putting in the wrong petrol. If you do accidentally put E10 in your car which is only compatible with E5, don’t worry too much.

“Just wait until there is room to add more petrol in and fill it with the correct one.

“This isn’t as bad as filling a petrol car with diesel, you won't have to get the car drained out but you should still take care and pay attention to what you are filling your car up with because it can cause long term damage.”

Are you aware?

Twenty-four per cent of drivers were unaware that a new type of petrol had been introduced at forecourts from September 1.

Research from breakdown group the RAC found many drivers did not know the fuel was coming, while 27 per cent have not looked into whether their vehicle is compatible.

Of the respondents that said they knew their car was incompatible with E10, 59 per cent said they were concerned about the rising costs, while 53 per cent were worried about finding pumps with E5 available.

Meanwhile, 20 per cent said they fear mistakenly filling with E10 and causing expensive damage, while the same proportion were concerned that the value of their car could drop.

RAC head of policy Nicholas Lyes said: “E10 petrol has already started appearing on forecourts to replace the old E5 blend, and that process will continue at pace in the coming weeks.

“Drivers who will continue to rely on E5 will also need to make sure the filling station they’re visiting stocks the fuel in the first place, or risk running out of fuel and having to call on their breakdown provider.

“We’d also like to remind owners of classic cars that they need to be careful not to accidentally top up with E10 and then leave it sitting unused in the tank for long periods, something which can lead to expensive damaged plastics, metals and seals.”

E10 fuel is arriving across Great Britain now, and is expected to make its way to Northern Ireland in early 2022.