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The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation

E10 petrol fuel switch - solution already available


Date: 13-Mar-2020

Motor factors and garages will be in a strong position to offer expert advice, as well as provide a solution to motorists concerned, after news that the UK Government is to consult about proposals to switch to an E10 petrol standard (10% ethanol). 

"Lucas Oil Products (UK) already supplies Safeguard Ethanol Fuel Treatment, a product designed to address the chief concerns of ethanol in fuel. This product is designed to deliver protection in levels of up to E85,” says Dan Morgan, UK Director of Sales and Operations. "Safeguard Ethanol Fuel Treatment is one of the Lucas Oil brand’s big sellers in the US, where, for the last six years, up to 10% ethanol has been the standard. 

Most initial concerns will relate to:

  • Oil contamination 
  • Fuel economy
  • Fuel hose and seal damage in older vehicles
  • Corrosion related to increased water in the fuel system 

UK drivers may see a small decrease in fuel economy, which is probably not noticeable at 5%, but may be at 10%. There is simply less heat energy in the same volume of ethanol than there is in petrol. 

Ethanol is hydroscopic, meaning that it pulls water from the air and, therefore, there is potential for corrosion of metal part inside exhausts, the engine itself and throughout the fuel system. Oil contamination may be a potential issue, too. Ethanol has a corrosive influence on the inside of rubber fuel hoses. Many older vehicles are at risk.

Consequently, minor adjustments in driving habits, such as consolidating short trips into single longer trips when practical might be advisable. More frequent oil changes may be required. 

Although concerns about fuel hoses relate more specifically to older cars, some problems have been experienced in modern cars, while concerns will be raised about the integrity of hoses bought from unsecured sources on the Internet.

Precisely how the potential for change will affect UK motorists depends a lot on how the car making operations in Europe have been prepared for this change and how they have prepared their UK offerings to meet the challenge.

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