Drivers warned of E10 petrol as using wrong fuel could ‘spell trouble’

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E10 petrol is set to be rolled out onto forecourts in Northern Ireland from November 1, and will help the nation to further decarbonise its transport. The move will align Northern Ireland with Great Britain after the greener fuel was launched onto forecourts in September 2021.

The fuel is blended with up to 10 percent renewable ethanol and made up of materials such as low-grade grains, sugars and waste wood, making it greener than existing petrol.

It is believed that the new fuel could cut transport CO2 emissions in the UK by 750,000 tonnes a year.

The Government states that around 95 percent of petrol cars will be compatible, urging those with older vehicles to use the online checker and check their vehicle’s eligibility.

It was also estimated by the RAC that around 600,000 older vehicles and classic cars should not use E10 and instead continue to use E5 petrol.

Using E10 petrol in an older vehicle could cause damage, with experts urging those with older cars to consult their manufacturer or their local garage.

Around 150,000 motorists put the wrong fuel into their cars every year – which is around one every three minutes.

NFU Mutual is advising drivers that prevention is always better than a cure, so drivers should double-check what fuel they can use in their car.

Dave Rossall, NFU Mutual’s Motor Claims Manager, urged drivers to check their compatibility with E10 before visiting the petrol station.

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He said: “Putting the wrong fuel into a vehicle is comparatively easy to do so it should be reassuring to know that there is insurance cover in place. 

“Expert opinion varies but putting E10 petrol into an older petrol driven vehicle once should be OK, but it’s not recommended to repeatedly make that mistake because it could cause damage. 

“Putting E10 petrol into a diesel vehicle will definitely spell trouble.”

Putting petrol into a diesel car by mistake is easier than vice versa because the pump nozzle will fit into the wider filler neck of a diesel. 

Halfords is offering a discount on the Fuel Efficiency Pack and customers can now buy it for £10 less. Available at Halfords Autocentres, the Fuel Efficiency Pack is a service where a Halfords technician will clean and remove harmful carbon deposits out of your car’s engine and fuel system using a non-invasive procedure. Book the service now.

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Putting diesel into a petrol tank is more challenging but not impossible.

When arriving at the filling station forecourt, drivers should not rely on the colour of the pump but instead, make sure the correct fuel is used by checking the information on or near the nozzle. 

Also, motorists could put an alert sticker inside the fuel flap to provide one last opportunity to check that all is well.

Mr Rossall continued, saying: “People can check on their vehicle’s compatibility with the new E10 petrol by clicking on the GOV.UK website. 

“If people are still uncertain, we suggest contacting the vehicle manufacturer who will be able to clarify whether it’s safe to use E10 petrol. 

“The change only applies to petrol driven vehicles. Diesel vehicles will continue to use the same fuel at the pump.”

If a driver puts the wrong fuel into their car before the engine is started, they should not turn the car on and instead push it to a safe area of the petrol station.

If they have already started driving and realise they have used the wrong fuel, they should pull off the road as soon as it is safe to do so and turn the engine off.

Motorists should then ring their breakdown service provider and their insurer as soon as possible.

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