E10 petrol containing up to 10% bioethanol could be introduced to forecourts from next year.
Unleaded petrol currently contains up to 5% bioethanol, a grade known as E5, whereas E10 is not available in the UK.
Bioethanol is a form of renewable energy that can be produced from agricultural feedstocks. It can be made from common UK crops such as potato and corn.
E10 has been heralded by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps as a ‘step towards a net-zero future’ and the government says its introduction would reduce CO2 emissions from cars and help the UK meet Paris Agreement emissions reduction targets.
The government had initially wanted to introduce it alongside E5, but after a 2018 call for evidence asking how best to introduce the fuel, biofuel producers and suppliers said they did not think offering two options would be effective.
In response, the government has today (March 4) began a new consultation that proposes E10 be introduced as a direct replacement for the current E5 petrol grade.
E5 would remain available in the high octane grade for those that need access to lower ethanol petrol.
Responding to the announcement, LowCVP’s managing director Andy Eastlake said: ‘Petrol cars have grown in popularity in recent years (in standard and plug-in hybrid form) and total sales of petrol have recently been growing – so it’s more important than ever to put greener fuel in the green pump while we continue to work to electrify the UK’s car and van fleets and seek solutions to decarbonise other sectors of road transport.”
‘We welcome these government proposals and will be engaging with our Fuels Working Group to provide feedback to the consultation.
‘We believe that the introduction of E10, including strict sustainability standards for product feedstocks – which were developed by the LowCVP – can make a significant contribution to CO2 reduction from road transport and help in the drive towards net zero while also supporting UK industry.’
The consultation is open until April 19.