The PRA chairman has reacted angrily to a new government consultation on whether E10 fuel should be introduced, accusing it of trying to “fudge” the issue.

Brian Madderson said: “PRA has been entirely consistent throughout previous dialogue with Government – in consultation submissions, roundtable meetings with ministers including Jesse Norman MP, correspondence with ministers including Jesse Norman MP and his officials at the Department for Transport (DfT) and working groups organised by DfT – that our members are strongly opposed to the introduction of E10 until and unless it is mandated by government.

“This position was endorsed by most if not all other industry trade associations. This further consultation appears to be just another fudge by government to see if industry is minded to proceed with a voluntary introduction.  

“Thus any backlash from motorists over increased costs from reduced mileage and/or upgrading to premium unleaded for non-compliant engines could be laid at industry’s door and not Westminster’s.”

Launching the consultation, transport minister Jesse Norman said: “This government is ambitiously seeking to reduce the UK’s reliance on imported fossil fuels and cut carbon emissions from transport. But drivers of older vehicles should not be hit hard in the pocket as a result.

“We have launched this consultation in order to understand the impact of E10 on the UK market better, and to ensure that drivers are protected if any changes come into effect.”

The consultation also includes proposals on introducing new fuel labels at filling stations and on new vehicles to help motorists select the right the fuel.

Madderson said that according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the issue of AFID labelling was likely to see car manufacturers placing appropriate stickers onto the inside of fuel caps from or around 12 October this year.

He added: “This merely replaces existing labels so incurs little if any extra cost and requires no consumer education. However labelling of dispensers and nozzles would require consumer education and government seems unprepared for the costs and format of such a programme so it has been ‘kicked along the road’ until sometime next year – possibly spring.”

The eight-week consultation will close on Sunday 16 September.