E10 petrol changes add £300 to fuel bills – ‘real blow’

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According to recent data, the rollout of E10 petrol has cost drivers over £1.7billion since it was introduced in 2021 and 2022. New research has unveiled the real-life financial implications of the standardisation of the greener fuel, and its motorists who are paying the price.

E10 petrol is 2.3 percent less efficient than its predecessor, meaning more fuel is needed to travel the same number of miles.

This can be seen through the Government’s impact assessment of E10, which highlighted the price increase of moving from E5 to E10.

E10 contains up to 10 percent renewable ethanol, five percent more than the old standard grade of E5.

The research, from GoCompare Car Insurance, found that the shift to E10 equates to an eye-watering additional cost of £1.7billion to UK vehicle owners.

This is estimated to be more than double the Government estimate of £701million.

In 2021, drivers travelling 8,000 miles (the national annual average) could have expected to pay around £866 for petrol. 

Last year, both petrol and diesel prices soared to record levels as a result of global pressures and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

As a result, 2022 saw costs hit driver’s pockets hard, alongside the cost of living crisis, with prices for petrol reaching £1,168 – a staggering increase of £302.

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Ryan Fulthorpe, motoring expert at GoCompare, commented on the data, saying drivers were being hammered by the costs.

He said: “Getting fewer miles per gallon means spending more to drive the same distance. Coupled with the climbing cost of fuel, this is a real blow to car owners.

“As a greener fuel, the shift to E10 is said to have the same impact as removing 350,000 cars off the road and will go a long way to support the UK bioethanol industry, which is sure to be a key future player in sustainable fuel. 

“Yet, rather than subsidising and supporting this industry, the price has been pushed onto the consumer.”

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E10 petrol was most recently launched in Northern Ireland on November 1, 2022, and saw the greener fuel become the new standard for unleaded.

It will align the country with England, Scotland and Wales which welcomed E10 onto forecourts in September 2021.

Classic car owners have also been left with an added financial burden as many older vehicles are incompatible with the new standard fuel.

Most vehicles will need to remain with E5 petrol, which is mostly only available at larger forecourts for a more expensive price.

Mr Fulthorpe highlighted that the fluctuating petrol and diesel prices were also having an impact on drivers.

He continued, saying: “In the meantime, drivers should think carefully about how they manage their petrol money. 

“Walking or cycling where possible to decrease driven mileage will not only save you money on fuel but can also bring your car insurance premium down.”

He also urged drivers to use tools to help them seek out the cheapest fuel in their area.

Many experts have called on the Government to implement a standardised fuel price checker to monitor prices across the country.

It could mirror the Consumer Council fuel price checker which has promoted competitiveness among filling stations across Northern Ireland.

Thanks to the tool, average petrol and diesel prices in Northern Ireland are around 5p cheaper per litre than the rest of the UK.

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