E10 petrol: What is it and can I use it?

As part of the government’s strategy to reduce harmful emissions from transport, the new E10 petrol grade will be introduced across the United Kingdom from September 2021.

This new fuel is known as E10, and while it retains the same 95-octane rating as existing unleaded petrol it will contain a much higher proportion of ethanol. Currently, all petrol supplied at filling stations contains a five percent mix of ethanol, which is why it is known as E5. However, from September 2021, that proportion will be doubled in standard grade petrol and the fuel will be identified by the code E10.

This change will not affect Toyota owners with a diesel-powered vehicle.

Why is the ethanol content being increased?

Ethanol is a renewable, non-fossil biofuel produced from sustainable sources. It is made using by-products from the farming industry, such as those from wheat, corn and sugar crops.

By increasing the proportion of biofuel in petrol, the content of fossil fuel and therefore our reliance on it decreases. This will reduce the overall levels of CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions from vehicles and help the government achieve its climate change targets. It has been calculated that this change from E5 to E10 will cut harmful transport emissions by 750,000 tonnes a year – the equivalent of taking 350,000 cars off the road.

Why isn’t the ethanol content much higher?

The composition of ethanol is different to that of a crude oil based fossil fuel such as petrol. Higher blends of ethanol can cause corrosion of some rubbers and alloys used in the engine and fuel systems of some older vehicles.

A small number of these vehicles will need to continue using E5 petrol, and this will remain widely available at filling stations in super unleaded grade.

Is this change to E10 petrol only happening in the UK?

No. In fact, E10 petrol is already common throughout the world. It has also been the reference fuel used for all new car emissions and performance testing since 2016.

Which Toyota models can use E10 petrol?

The good news is that the vast majority of Toyota models with a petrol engine or hybrid powertrain and that were officially supplied within the European market since January 1998 are compatible with E10 petrol. The only exceptions to this rule are the following vehicles:

  • Toyota Avensis with 2.0-litre 1AZ-FSE engine made between July 2000 and October 2008
  • Toyota Avensis with 2.4-litre 2AZ-FSE engine made between June 2003 and October 2008

How can I check if my Toyota can use E10 petrol?

This can be confirmed by checking the owner’s manual or looking at the information printed on the inside of the fuel filler flap. If you are still unsure, use E5 petrol, which will continue to be dispensed from the super unleaded pump at most filling stations.

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