E10 petrol ’causes vehicles to run terribly’ as many return to E5

When it was introduced, E10 petrol was touted as being a “greener” fuel which would have a nominal impact on fuel economy. The new unleaded fuel was launched in September 2021 across forecourts in England, Scotland and Wales, but drivers have been reporting issues with it ever since.

This has ranged from not getting the same number of miles per gallon as they did with E5 to warnings of damaged seals.

Speaking previously to Express.co.uk, a spokesperson from Somerset Classic Motorcycles said E10 fuel has been a problem since its introduction.

They claimed: “We didn’t know anything about it until it landed basically.

“We deal predominantly with classic bikes, from the 1970s and 1980s, and the vast majority will have problems in one way or another.

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“They all, without exception, run terribly on it. They just don’t get along with it at all.

“Before you even get on to subject of longer-term damage to carburettors and internal components in carburettors.”

The complete E10 rollout was completed last November when Northern Ireland welcomed the fuel onto forecourts.

Drivers in Northern Ireland have the added bonus of having access to the Consumer Council’s Fuel Price Checker.

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This helps to promote competitiveness among fuel stations around the country, with drivers seeing average petrol and diesel prices around five pence cheaper than the rest of the UK.

The spokesperson added: “A lot of carburettors of that vintage have rubber tips in the internal components from the sealing and the floats, so those will swell and thaw and stick and cause potential engine damage. 

“And that’s before you get into the effects of ethanol on the carburettor.”

When it was introduced, drivers were warned around 600,000 vehicles would not be compatible with the new fuel.

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There were concerns at the time about how this would affect motorcycles as the Government guidance failed to mention them.

The Government’s E10 petrol checker listed an extensive list of vehicle manufacturers and whether they would be able to use the new fuel.

Many motorcycle manufacturers released more detailed explanations of which vehicle types were compatible with E10.

Somerset Classic Motorcycles also spoke of how their patrons have been affected by the petrol changes in recent months.

“We’ve heard from customers who have either said the bike runs terribly and keeps cutting out and stalling and it’s difficult to start. The complaints can go from that through to poor miles per gallon.

“Any attempt at it being in any way eco is nonsense because my bike does far worse for the gallon of it so I’m using far more of the stuff.

“Basically now, we do not put any E10 fuel in any of the bikes that we sell.

“All of the bikes will have super unleaded in it because it’s the only thing that means it can run okay.

“I’ve not heard a single customer yet say to us, ‘I run E10 in my bike and it’s fine’.”

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