UK fuel pump: New E10 fuel could cause engine damage due to high amounts of ethanol


New E10 fuel is set to be launched across petrol stations next year but owners could run the risk of suffering “burned valves” or “burned pistons”, according to an expert. Paul Ireland, researcher and author of Classic Engines: Modern Fuel has warned cars are built with a “precise mixture” of air and petrol which could be disturbed.

E10 fuel is made up of 90 percent octane and 10 percent bioethanol fuel which is higher than the five percent used in standard E5 fuel currently. 

This means cars will run with higher percentages of ethanol which could cause a vehicle to run weak – potentially leading to serious consequences. 

Mr Ireland warned the damage could lead to burned out car parts which could be expensive for motorists to replace. 

Speaking to, Mr Ireland said: “Because ethanol blended petrol has oxygen in it, a petrol engine has to run with a precise mixture of air and petrol and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t run properly. 

READ MORE: Petrol car owners could have tank destroyed with one water drop

Road vehicle specialists at Fiix have revealed engines which run lean could also lead to a range of further car issues.

Weak running cars will have less power than it had before with experts warning of “sluggish acceleration” and a “lack of power” form the vehicle. 

Specialists also warn drivers could have trouble starting their car at all which could be a risk to road users. 

However, Mr Ireland says owners can reduce the damage caused by the extra ethanol with a simple change. 

He told “With variable jet carburetors it’s incredibly trivial to make minor adjustments you need to run on E10. I mean it’s literally about a 30 second job.”

There has been much concern regarding the introduction of E10 petrol with warnings over the possible damage the new fuel could cause when launched. 

Tests conducted by the Department for Transport (DfT) revealed the new petrol could cause problems such as degradation to the fuel hoses and seals. 

The DfT analysis also highlighted how the fuel could cause blocked fuel filters, damaged fuel pumps and blocked injectors. 

Corrosion could also be an issue with tests revealing carburetors and fuel tanks can be affected by the new mix. 

Experts have warned cars built before 2002 should not use the new E10 fuel but it could affect cars made up until 2011. 

It has been estimated that around 600,000 cars may not be eligible to run the fuel when it is launched. 

However, the RAC says that although using the new fuel in an incompatible car could cause cars to run a little rough, it would not be a disaster.

The DfT states that the “vast majority” of petrol vehicles in use today are fully approved for use with E10 fuel. 

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