E10 petrol, a mixture of petrol and ethanol made from materials including low-grade grains, sugars and waste wood, is set to be introduced at pumps up and down the country in September.
According to the Government, introduction of the fuel on UK roads could cut transport carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 750,000 tonnes a year – the equivalent of taking 350,000 cars off the road, or all the cars in North Yorkshire.
The two petrol blends that are currently widely available in the UK contain no more than five per cent ethanol, known as E5. The fuel being rolled out in September has up to ten per cent.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps commented on the announcement: “We’re going further and faster than ever to cut emissions from our roads, cleaning up our air as we accelerate towards a zero-emission transport future.
“Although more and more motorists are driving electric vehicles, there are steps we can take to reduce emissions from the millions of vehicles already on our roads – the small switch to E10 petrol will help drivers across the country reduce the environmental impact of every journey, as we build back greener.”
A small number of older vehicles, including classic cars and some from the early 2000s, will continue to need E5 fuel, which is why supplies of E5 petrol will be maintained in the ‘Super’ grade.
Grant Pearson, Director of Ensus UK Ltd, which operates one of the largest production plants for bioethanol in Europe in the North East, added: “The announcement today of the planned introduction of E10 fuel by the Department for Transport is excellent news – not only for the environment but also for the British bioethanol industry.
“E10 will mean that the majority of petrol sold in the UK will have lower greenhouse gas emissions than today, when fully introduced.
“Lowering emissions immediately for the current petrol car pool is very important – especially until electric vehicles can make a larger contribution to saving emissions in transport.
“The benefits for the UK go beyond the environment, particularly in the north east where the Ensus manufacturing facility is based, and supports thousands of jobs both directly and in the supply chain.”
The decision to introduce E10 petrol follows a consultation carried out last year with drivers and industry.
Motorists are advised to use the new E10 compatibility checker to see if their vehicle is compatible.