Ethanol in petrol

The Motorcycle Action Group has been keeping a close eye on the development of plans to increase the ethanol content of petrol, and the effects that ethanol can have on modern and historic bikes.

September 2015
Latest information gathered by MAG and the Federation of British Historic
Vehicle Clubs (FBHVC) and checked with the Department for Transport –

  • E10 petrol (containing up to 10% ethanol) is likely to appear at UK petrol stations from 2013

  • BSI expects to have the E10 fuel specification in place by the end of 2012

  • Not all fuel terminals have ethanol blending facilities

  • Fuel retailers are to be given guidance over the introduction of E10 petrol

  • The UK government is not pushing producers and retailers to roll-out E10

  • Where E10 is sold, fuel pumps will be labelled ‘E 10’ in the same size lettering (15mm) as the words ‘Unleaded Petrol’ and the octane rating (95). The warning to ‘Not suitable for all vehicles. Consult vehicle manufacturer before use’ will use smaller (10mm) lettering

  • Unless the label on the petrol pump includes the code ‘E10’, the fuel should contain no more than 5% ethanol

  • The revised European specification will allow an increase in the volatility of petrol, which could lead to some bikes suffering vapour lock in hot weather

  • DfT have set-up a vehicle compatibility working group to compile a list of modern E10 compatible vehicles, part of this is concerned with classic/historic vehicles, including bikes

  • ‘Super’ (97-99 RON) grade petrol is expected to contain no more than 5% ethanol

  • E5 petrol is expected to be phased out by the year 2020

MAG’s National Committee has agreed that we should campaign to make sure riders are well-informed about the fuel they are buying from pumps displaying the various labels.

MAG is raising these issues in Parliament and is campaigning to ensure continued supply of low/zero ethanol petrol.

For more detail, see news story here