LowCVP responds to consultation on the introduction of E10 fuel at filling stations across the UK

Thu 30 April 2020 View all news

The LowCVP has responded to the Government's proposals for the introduction of E10 petrol - up to a 10% blend of ethanol in petrol supplied to forecourts, rising from the current 5% limit. The consultation period formally ends next Sunday 3rd May.

The Government is proposing that E10 should become the standard grade of petrol at UK filling stations from 2021. It says that the initiative could result in CO2 savings of 750,00 tonnes; emissions reductions equivalent to taking up to 350,000 cars off the road each year.

Current petrol grades in the UK already contain up to 5% bioethanol, known - and now clearly labelled - as E5. E10 would see this percentage increased up to a maximum of 10%, a blend which is already well used in other countries such as Belgium, Finland, France and Germany.

LowCVP held a successful online discussion about the consultation involving members and others from the fuel stakeholder community as well as participants from the Department for Transport (DfT). (The discussion was the first in a series to inform LowCVP's responses to upcoming Government consultations.)

Members are in broad agreement with the Government's proposals for the introduction of E10 but emphasise the need for a coordinated communications campaign prior to it becoming available at the forecourt to ensure a smooth introduction. 

The Partnership's full response will be published when the consultation has closed after 3 May.

Members who have a strong views on the introduction of E10 still have time to submit independent views to the consultation if they have not already done so.

The consultation follows the LowCVP-led roll-out of new labels at filling stations across the UK which highlight the biofuel content of each fuel and help drivers to easily identify the right option for their vehicle.

Speaking at the announcement of the consultation, LowCVP's Managing Director Andy Eastlake said: "Petrol cars have grown in popularity in recent years (in standard and plug-in hybrid form) and total sales of petrol have recently been growing - so it's more important than ever to put greener fuel in the green pump while we continue to work to electrify the UK's car and van fleets and seek solutions to decarbonise other sectors of road transport."

"We welcome these Government proposals and will be engaging with our Fuels Working Group to provide feedback to the consultation.

"We believe that the introduction of E10, including the currently applied strict sustainability standards for product feedstocks - which were developed by the LowCVP - can make a significant contribution to CO2 reduction from road transport and help in the drive towards net zero while also supporting UK industry."

The LowCVP convened an expert group in 2017 which published a report - 'Successfully deploying E10 petrol'. The report concluded that the introduction of petrol with a 10% bioethanol content (E10) would be one of the most cost-effective means of rapidly reducing carbon emissions from road transport currently available to the UK.

The group said that the introduction, however, needs to be thoroughly and carefully planned to ensure effective market transition. 

Bioethanol in the UK is produced through the fermentation of wheat or sugar beet. The UK has two of Europe’s biggest bioethanol plants: Ensus on Teesside and Vivergo Fuels in Hull. Both distill locally grown wheat to produce bioethanol, with protein-rich animal feed as a by-product.

All modern petrol cars are designed, certified and optimised to use E10. There are still a small number of older non-classic cars, particularly those produced in the 1990s and before, which are not warranted for E10 use, but the majority of these were expected to be scrapped by this year.

Every new petrol car sold since 1st January 2011, has been required to be fully warranted to use E10. The vast majority of new cars since 2000 are also fully warranted. 97% of petrol cars on UK roads are now fully warranted to use E10. Older cars which are either not warranted to use E10 (or it’s not known if they can use E10) together with historic vehicles, can be catered for through the Super 97 E5 petrol grade, acting as a legacy grade.

The consultation closes this Sunday, May 3rd.

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