Last reviewed 11 June 2021

The Government is launching a national awareness campaign this month to highlight the rollout of E10 petrol, a fuel mix which could cut annual CO2 emissions by up to 750,000 tonnes.

E10 petrol is set to become the UK’s new standard grade petrol. It contains double the renewable ethanol content of the current E5 petrol (up from 5% up to 10%), which the Government says will help the UK “build back greener”.

Ethanol is a plant-based hydrocarbon, or biofuel, derived from corn and sugarcane, and other plant-based materials, and because ethanol produces less and fewer harmful emissions, such as CO2, the new E10 fuel grade will help improve air quality and reduce transport emissions.

Launching the Government’s campaign, Rachel Maclean, UK Transport Minister, said: “The rollout of E10 is the latest in a string of measures we’re taking to cut road emissions, reduce pollution and keep us on track to meet our ambitious net zero by 2050 target.”

The rollout of E10 petrol is also expected to boost job opportunities with up to 100 jobs in the Northeast of England, following the reopening of AB Sugar’s Vivergo plant, and increasing production at existing biofuel plants, such as Ensus.

Biofuels are a renewable source of energy that can be grown year-on-year, reducing dependency on fossil fuels. But because they are plant-based and require a lot of arable land, there is growing concern biofuel production is using up land and other resources that are needed for natural biodiversity and food production. The EU, for instance, has capped the use of biofuels at 7%, limiting the share of biofuels from crops grown on agricultural land. 

As part of the national E10 campaign, the Government is advising that, while the vast majority of petrol cars, motorcycles, and mopeds in the UK will be able to use E10 petrol, some older vehicles will not be compatible with the new fuel. Businesses and consumers can get information on their vehicles’ compatibility by using the Government’s online E10 compatibility checker.