UK drivers have been issued an urgent warning over the way they fill their car from September.

As of September 1, E10 fuel will replace E5 as the standard petrol sold in the UK.

An impact assessment published in January 2020 estimated that around 600,000 cars – such as classic cars or those built in the early 2000s – would be incompatible with the new fuel this year.

Owners of those vehicles can continue to access E5 by purchasing super unleaded which costs an average of 8.7p a litre more than standard petrol, according to AA figures.

The Government’s pledge to reduce CO2 emissions has prompted the move, with E10 fuel using a higher proportion of bio-ethanol in unleaded fuel – up from five per cent currently to 10 per cent.

Though some older vehicles could be damaged by the use of E10 fuel, the vast majority of motorists won’t need to switch to super unleaded fuel  – which remains at five per cent bio-ethanol – in order to keep their cars going.

AA technical specialist, Greg Carter says: “Over 98 per cent of petrol cars in the UK can run perfectly well on E10, but some older models, classic cars and motorcycles shouldn’t use it.

“The extra bio-ethanol content can be more corrosive to older fuel system components, so drivers of older cars and motorcycles should check the Government website before heading to the pump.”

The switch is said to save around 750,000 tonnes of CO2, with all petrol cars built after 2011 compatible with the fuel. Most petrol-powered cars from after 2001 will also accept the new fuel.

Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s update customers

Asda has moved to warn customers that E5 fuel will no longer be available at it’s 320 forecourts across Britain as it makes the switch to E10.

Meanwhile, Britain’s biggest grocer Tesco has said E5 will still be available across 90% of petrol stations.

Sainsbury’s and Esso have said E5 petrol will be available across the vast majority of its garages.

Grant Shapps issues statement

News and Star: Transport Secretary Grant Shapps (Tolga Akmen/PA)Transport Secretary Grant Shapps (Tolga Akmen/PA)

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “Every journey matters as we drive forward the green industrial revolution, which is why the rollout of E10 is so important.

“It’ll help us cut road greenhouse gas emissions and meet our ambitious net zero targets.

“Although more and more drivers are switching to electric, there are steps we can take today to reduce emissions from the millions of vehicles already on our roads.

“The small switch to E10 petrol will reduce greenhouse gas emissions as we accelerate towards a greener transport future.”

AA president Edmund King said: “This is a positive and simple step to help reduce the carbon impact from road transport.

“While the vast majority of vehicles will be unaffected by the change, it is important for owners of older cars to use the Government’s vehicle checker to see if they can use E10.

“Even if E10 is put in a non-compliant vehicle, drivers should not panic and can simply put super unleaded in their tank at the next available opportunity.”