E10 petrol performance issues could get worse for drivers in the colder weather

E10 biofuel: Department for Transport explains why it’s ‘better'

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E10 fuel was introduced to forecourts at the beginning of September, and was touted as being a cleaner, “greener” fuel. It is blended with up to 10 percent bioethanol and has the potential to reduce transport CO2 emissions by 750,000 tonnes per year.

E10 was rolled out as the new standard grade of petrol in the UK, replacing E5.

This has been heralded by the Government as a massive step towards decarbonisation and the Department for Transport’s transport decarbonisation plan (TDP).

The RAC estimated that around 634,000 cars on UK roads are incompatible with E10 fuel.

Around 150,000 of those were built from the year 2000 onwards.

But some drivers have reported performance issues with their engines since using the new fuel, citing “sputtering” and poorer fuel economy.

Industry experts are now predicting that the colder winter weather will continue to have a negative impact on car engines.

Dr Dan Clarke, global head of science and technology at greentech company SulNOx Group, spoke of what could happen when the temperature drops.

He said: “In cold weather, condensation occurs when water vapour comes in contact with a hot surface.

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“This can happen in your fuel tank, as any space not filled up with fuel will be taken up by air containing water vapour.

“The main problem is that the additional bio-ethanol content in E10 prefers to mix with water as opposed to petrol and where there is sufficient of both, it leaves the petrol and combines with the water to form a separate layer at the bottom of the fuel tank.

“The fuel line then draws from this watery alcohol mixture which is pumped directly into the engine.

“Equally, while petrol or diesel are very unlikely to freeze in the temperatures we typically experience in the UK, water condensation left in the empty fuel lines can easily freeze and prevent fuel from reaching your engine.

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