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How will E10 fuel affect older and classic cars?

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March 22, 2023
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Most of us are used to E10 petrol, which was introduced at the pump back in the summer of 2021 as part of the government’s drive to reduce pollution. E10 is compatible with most petrol cars, but things aren’t quite so simple if you happen to drive an older  vehicle or classic car.

This blog answers all your questions about E10 and the effect it could have on your classic. Read this blog to find out if your car is a classic.

What is E10 petrol?

E10 is petrol made with up to 10% of renewable ethanol and it was introduced to help to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. By using fuel with a higher ratio of renewable ethanol, your car will be more eco-friendly because it will burn less fuel and generate fewer emissions.

Is my car compatible with E10 petrol?

The Department for Transport says that all petrol-powered vehicles built since 2011 and most cars made since the late 1990s are E10 compatible – meaning that 95% of petrol vehicles on the road are compatible with E10

If you are in any doubt about your vehicles you should check with the manufacturer or on the government’s E10 compatibility checker tool.

E10 petrol

Which cars aren’t E10 compatible?

According to the government’s website classic cars and older vehicles, and certain cars made in the early 2000s, are not compatible with E10 petrol.

How will E10 petrol affect my classic car?

There are two main concerns about using E10 in classic cars.

1. Ethanol is corrosive

Ethanol is corrosive so with a higher percentage of ethanol in E10, there’s more risk of corrosion on metal, plastic and rubber in your classic car’s fuel system. This can cause many problems, from broken fuel lines to carburettor issues.

2. Ethanol absorbs water

Water absorption is a problem if your classic car sits idle for long periods of time, as many classics do. The longer you leave it, the more moisture will build up and this can cause serious issues for driving and safety.

Can you still buy E5 unleaded?

For the time being, you can keep using E5 ‘super’ grade 97+ octane which is still available at most filling stations, although you may need to search for one in rural areas.

If you are interested in changing your car’s fuel, read our blog to find out about the cost of converting your classic car to electric power and find out about other alternative fuels in this blog.

E10 petrol

Does E10 fuel give less mpg?

 Ethanol does not contain as much energy as gasoline, so E10 does have a slightly lower mpg than E5. However, this is offset for many by being cheaper and reducing CO2 emissions.

Are there any E10 additives or adaptations to make my classic car compatible?

It may go against the grain for many classic car owners to upgrade to non-standard spec but it’s a possibility. You could upgrade the fuel system to handle E10 petrol. You will need to ensure that all parts being replaced are E10 compatible.

Read this blog to find out what will happen to your classic car when the government’s petrol ban comes in.

Are modern classics compatible with E10 petrol?

If you have a modern classic car built from the late 90s onwards, you’re probably OK using E10. Err on the side of caution and check the government’s compatibility tool.

What can I do if I accidentally fill my classic car with E10 petrol?

Around 150,000 people put the wrong fuel in their cars each year. It’s an easy mistake to make. More often than not, people put petrol into their diesel tanks, but now that E10 and E5 are choices, the risks are even higher. If you mix up diesel with petrol, or vice versa, you will need to get all the contaminated fuel from the tank and replace it with the correct fuel before the engine is started. As it is such a common problem you should seriously consider taking out misfuelling insurance.

If you inadvertently fill your classic with E10 instead of E5 you won’t have such a problem but you will need to ensure the fuel doesn’t sit in the tank for too long. Take the vehicle for a long drive and then top up with E5 when room permits.

Insurance your classic car deserves

You can cover your classic car with the kind of insurance it deserves by calling the experts at Adrian Flux on 0800 369 8590  for a swift no-hassle quote. Alternatively book a callback at a time that suits you.

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