At present, no-one is sure exactly when E10 will start to appear on UK forecourts.
Fuel retailers and suppliers are understandably cautious about bringing E10 to the UK. Independent retailers, in particular, who will have to upgrade pumps and tanks, are wary, said the Petrol Retailers Association’s Philip Monger.
‘I’d prefer to see it delayed,’ he said, ‘and I can’t see E10 coming right now unless there’s a cost advantage to suppliers, and I’m not aware of one. Suppliers are currently meeting their RTFO obligations through sales of biodiesel so they have no immediate need of E10.
‘The eventual introduction of E10 will again bring associated costs for retailers, who will want to see a justification in those costs in terms of environmental benefits.’
Fuel suppliers were reluctant to comment on our fuel test results, with the UK Petrol Industry Association declining to respond.
However, while there doesn’t appear to be an appetite for E10 now, it will be introduced. Sainsbury’s told us it doesn’t have immediate plans to introduce E10, while Shell said: ‘We will only offer E10 when we are confident motorists are ready, understanding what it is, why it’s coming and that their cars are compatible.’
Tesco’s Jerry Burton, senior technical manager of fuels, said: ‘Ultimately E10 will be the standard regular unleaded petrol grade. The transition to this is to some extent dependent on the success of any public awareness campaign, and the targets set out in the RTFO.’ The Government, meanwhile, said it will support an industry-led campaign, but won’t provide public funding.
Responding to our call for a Government assurance that E10 will not increase motorists’ fuel spend, Baroness Kramer said: ‘Any decision to supply E10 is a commercial one. However, Ministers have met with fuel suppliers to encourage them to delay E10 until the market is ready.’
She ruled out a Government investigation into fuel consumption at present, stating: ‘The RTFO level of 4.75% does not necessitate the introduction of E10. Any change which might necessitate the introduction of E10 would be the subject of a public consultation and impact assessment.’