‘Bothersome problems’: Classic car owners warned that E10 fuel could cause issues

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E10 was launched at the start of September and contains up to 10 percent renewable ethanol, twice the proportion of E5 grade petrol. The Government estimates it could cut transport CO2 emissions by 750,000 tonnes per year, which is the equivalent of taking 350,000 cars off of UK roads.

Despite the massive environmental benefits, around 600,000 cars on UK roads cannot use the new E10 fuel.

This includes some relatively contemporary cars from popular brands, as well as vintage cars, and some motorbikes.

Zurich Insurance is warning of the dangers of using ethanol fuels and older cars.

The first issue they point out is that ethanol can have a corrosive effect on rubber, metal, and plastic parts in the fuel system.

Therefore, there is the potential for increased maintenance costs associated with prolonged use of the E10 petrol.

The company said: “The issues can range from bothersome problems, such as sticking carburettor floats, to the alarming, when fuel lines disintegrate.

“When a fuel line perishes, the petrol no longer flows properly into the engine.

“As a result, petrol overflows and goes back into the fuel tank.

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“In such an event, fuel could leak and come into contact with the engine, which is an ignition source, and cause smoke.”

In a worst-case scenario, there is even a risk of the vehicle catching fire, experts claimed. 

They also warn that classic cars are more at risk than regular everyday modern vehicles because the new fuel is hygroscopic.

This means that the ethanol in the fuel tends to absorb moisture.

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