The introduction of E10 petrol has received the full support of the UK and Ireland Fuel Distributors Association (UKIFDA), the

trade association for the liquid fuels distribution industry, which has submitted its views on the government’s consultation on the introduction of E10 petrol at filling stations across the UK.

The consultation closed earlier this month and called for views from industry on the best way to introduce E10 petrol, which contains up to 10% bioethanol, as the standard grade of petrol at forecourts from 2021, replacing the current unleaded petrol known as E5 which contains up to 5% bioethanol.

The government has been prevaricating over introducing E10 for nearly a decade, but this time it has spelt out specific proposals for it to replace standard E5 from next year. 

Opposition has focused on the extra infrastructure that would be required if forecourts needed to stock an extra grade of petrol, and the fact that some older cars are not compatible with E10.

"We have expressed our full support for the government’s proposals to replace the 95 E5 Premium grade petrol with E10 petrol, and think a direct replacement is the right way to ensure successful implementation and take-up by consumers," said Guy Pulham, UKIFDA chief executive.

"The introduction of E10 petrol would drastically reduce emissions from petrol vehicles - according to the government, it could lead to a CO2 saving of 750,000 tonnes, which is equivalent in emissions reductions to taking up to 350,000 cars off the road every year.

"We agree that increasing the bioethanol percentage from up to 5% in current E5 petrol to up to 10% in E10 petrol can only be a good thing. The E10 blend is already in use in other countries across Europe including France, Germany, Belgium and Finland, and its introduction in the UK is very welcome - where the majority of petrol cars could use E10 petrol from its introduction."

He said that since 2011, all modern petrol cars have been designed to use E10 effectively, and most petrol cars since 2000 have also been certified to use the proposed blend. However, there are still several older and classic cars not able to use E10, which is why the government is proposing the ongoing availability of E5 petrol.

Tony Brown, UKIFDA technical manager said: "Offering E5 petrol in the super grade only, going forward, is necessary to ensure consumers with older or classic cars unable to use E10 can continue to fill their cars at forecourts - this we totally agree with the government on. We also believe this fuel should be available for the maximum five years after the introduction of E10 and then reviewed to assess if it should be kept available for longer.

"UKIFDA agree with the timelines detailed in the consultation - to introduce E10 in 2021 and to provide industry and motorists with a minimum of six months’ notice but we have requested a three-month implementation rather than the proposed two-month implementation period. We also believe that the ideal implementation time is Q4 2021 though, as this would allow enough time for any adjustments to be made and for terminals and service stations to prepare, as well as enable an awareness campaign for customers to be run.

"To help with fuel supply resilience, we agree with the government that derogations are needed in the short-term in case of equipment failure at the loading rack or issues with the supply of the raw material. However, we would like to know how this process will be monitored to make sure the failure has been rectified each time and believe the right way to manage the process is to have an approval method in place so that the relevant authority can be notified once the issue has been rectified rather than the matter being left open ended."

Pulham concluded: “We are happy with the proposed wording for E10 petrol and urge careful, clear communications to consumers to help them understand the benefits of this new product and confirm to them if it is compatible with their vehicle. Furthermore, despite the rigorous testing that will be carried out before this product is launched, it is important its implementation is closely monitored to ensure any failures such as engine issues caused by the new blend are detected early and dealt with to limit the potential impact."