RAC says many cars unable to use new green fuel

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Many popular family cars are unable to use a fuel which could be introduced to forecourts to cut carbon emissions, according to new research.

Some Volkswagen, Ford and Nissan vehicles are among those which are not compatible with E10 petrol, which is designed to be less harmful to the environment. The Department for Transport (DfT) launched a consultation last month on its proposal to encourage larger forecourts to sell E10 to help the UK meet climate change targets.

Embargoed to 0001 Tuesday August 28''File photo dated 13/09/05 of a petrol pump nozzle. Many popular family cars are unable to use a fuel which could be introduced to forecourts to cut carbon emissions, according to new research. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday August 28, 2018. Some Volkswagen, Ford and Nissan vehicles are among those which are not compatible with E10 petrol, which is designed to be less harmful to the environment. See PA story TRANSPORT Fuel. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Embargoed to 0001 Tuesday August 28''File photo dated 13/09/05 of a petrol pump nozzle. Many popular family cars are unable to use a fuel which could be introduced to forecourts to cut carbon emissions, according to new research. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday August 28, 2018. Some Volkswagen, Ford and Nissan vehicles are among those which are not compatible with E10 petrol, which is designed to be less harmful to the environment. See PA story TRANSPORT Fuel. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Regular petrol sold in the UK contains up to five per cent bioethanol – a type of renewable fuel – to reduce carbon emissions. E10 involves increasing the proportion to 10 per cent and is widely available across much of the European Union and other countries including the US and Australia.

The majority of vehicles in use today are approved to be fuelled with the petrol, but some older vehicles are not.

New analysis by motoring research charity the RAC Foundation shows that many cars still in regular use are incompatible with the fuel.

It found that by 2020 there will still be an estimated 28,066 Volkswagen Golfs on the road that would be affected, the most of any model.

Other models in the top 10 incompatibility list include the Nissan Micra (15,785), Rover 25 (9,879) and Ford Escort (8,947).

In total, 634,309 petrol cars will be in use but incompatible with E10 in 2020, according to the research.

Of these, 150,000 will have been manufactured from the year 2000 onwards.

The DfT is proposing to introduce a requirement for larger filling stations to continue to stock standard petrol in an E5 grade if they decide to add an E10 option, in a bid to ensure the owners of older vehicles can continue to drive.

A DfT spokeswoman said: “This Government is ambitiously seeking to reduce the UK’s reliance on imported fossils fuels and cut carbon emissions from transport. But drivers of older vehicles should not be hit hard in the pocket as a result .

“The E10 petrol consultation will give a better understanding of the impact of E10 on the UK market, and to ensure that drivers are protected if any changes come into effect.”

Here are the top models that will have the most registered cars which are E10 incompatible in 2020, according to the RAC Foundation (number of cars in brackets): Volkswagen Golf (28,066); MG MGB (20,890); Mazda MX-5 (18,162); Nissan Micra (15,785); and Morris Minor (12,796).