E10 fuel – a blend of petrol and 10% renewable ethanol – is available from petrol stations from today (September 1).
The Department for Transport (DfT) says that E10 fuel - made up of materials such as low-grade grains, sugars and waste wood - could cut transport CO2 emissions by 750,000 tonnes per year, the equivalent of taking 350,000 cars off UK roads.
More than 95% of all petrol vehicles are compatible with E10, with a 'small number' of older vehicles, including classic cars and some from the early 2000s, still able to access E5 petrol in the ‘Super’ grade.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “Every journey matters as we drive forward the green industrial revolution, which is why the rollout of E10 is so important. It’ll help us cut road greenhouse gas emissions and meet our ambitious net zero targets.
“Although more and more drivers are switching to electric, there are steps we can take today to reduce emissions from the millions of vehicles already on our roads – the small switch to E10 petrol will reduce greenhouse gas emissions as we accelerate towards a greener transport future.”
The DfT said the move will help the Government achieve its climate change goals ahead of COP26 this November and will support the increased production of biofuels at bioethanol plants in the north-east of England.
It will also support the wider local economy including in the agriculture sector that supply the feed-wheat needed to run the plant.
Edmund King, AA president, said: “This is a positive and simple step to help reduce the carbon impact from road transport. While most vehicles will be unaffected by the change, it is important for owners of older cars to use the government’s vehicle checker to see if they can use E10.
“Even if E10 is put in a non-compliant vehicle, drivers should not panic and can simply put super unleaded in their tank at the next available opportunity.”
The introduction of E10 follows a consultation with drivers and industry.
Motorists are advised to use the Government’s online E10 checker to see if their vehicle is compatible.