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On November 1, Northern Ireland will welcome E10 petrol to its forecourts in a move which will align the country with Great Britain. E10 fuel will become the new standard grade of petrol when it is rolled out, with the current form of unleaded, E5, being upgraded to super unleaded.

The petrol is blended with up to 10 percent renewable ethanol and will help Northern Ireland to decarbonise transport, as it is greener than existing petrol. 

The RAC has warned that thousands of vehicles are not compatible with E10 petrol and will need to use alternative fuels.

As a rule, drivers of cars registered prior to 2002 are advised not to use E10 in their vehicle, as problems have been reported. 

Louis Rix, COO and co-founder of CarFinance 247, warned drivers that they may find themselves paying hundreds of pounds extra every year.

Drivers are advised to contact their local garages or car manufacturers to check if they can use the greener petrol.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “All petrol-driven vehicles produced since 2011 are compatible with the new fuel type, which will replace E5 fuel. 

“However, motorists with older cars fall into the five percent that will need to keep filling up with E5 (more than 600,000 cars). 

“The disadvantage is that these road-users will no longer be using the cheapest petrol on the forecourt and will require super-unleaded fuel. 

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“The premium alternative is usually more than 10p more expensive than standard unleaded petrol, meaning that the average car owner could end up spending over £5 more to fill up their tank than usual. 

“Over the course of a year, drivers face increased costs of more than £250.”

The use of E10 across the UK could contribute to cutting transport CO2 emissions in the UK by potentially 750,000 tonnes a year.

This is the equivalent to a forest the size of the Isle of Wight capturing carbon every year.

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Mr Rix also warned drivers about the damage it can do to their cars if the wrong fuel is used.

While putting E10 petrol into a non-compatible car can cause damage, it is not as bad as putting diesel into a petrol car.

It can still cause blockages, and in some instances, corrode seals and gaskets.

Although clear markings will be shown at forecourts, drivers will need to be certain which fuel their car can take before filling up.

The Government has an E10 fuel checker which allows drivers to sort through manufacturers and models to see if their car is compatible.

Mr Rix added: “Unless the Government can assure all petrol drivers that prices will remain consistent between unleaded (E10) and super-unleaded (E5), drivers will be forced to either accept a significant increase in fuel cost or upgrade their vehicles to a cheaper, greener option.

“Those with E10 incompatible vehicles, switching to an EV may end up being a more cost-effective solution than buying a newer petrol car, as even E10 fuel users will see a small rise in costs.”

All new cars sold in the UK after 2011 must be E10 compatible, with manufacturers using the petrol for testing since the early 2010s.

A small number of older vehicles, including classic cars and some from the early 2000s, will continue to need E5 fuel, which is why supplies of E5 petrol will be maintained in the “super” petrol grade. 

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