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ethanol fuels

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FBHVC clarifies the introduction of E10 petrol for historic vehicle owners

Published: 26/02/2021

After an extensive consultation process, the Department for Transport has announced that they will legislate to introduce E10 petrol as the standard 95-octane petrol grade by 1 September 2021. They will also require the higher-octane 97+ ‘Super’ grades to remain E5 to provide protection for owners of older vehicles. This product will be designated as the ‘Protection’ grade.

The introduction of the 95-octane E10 grade and the maintenance of the Super E5 protection grade will be reviewed by the Government after 5 years to ensure they remain appropriate to the needs of the market. In relation to the E5 protection grade, such a review will examine market developments over the period. HM Government have sought to reassure FBHVC members and historic vehicle owners that, without a suitable alternative becoming available, it is highly likely the Super E5 protection grade would continue to be available.

Filling stations that stock 2 grades of petrol and supply at least one million litres of fuel in total each year, will need to ensure one product is the Super E5 protection grade. While not all filling stations meet these criteria, almost all towns across the UK will have a filling station that supplies the ‘Super’ grade and currently one major retailer, a national supermarket group, has committed to offer the product. The main exception to this is in certain parts of the Highlands, north and west coast of Scotland, which will be covered by an exemption process and allowed to continue to market the 95-octane E5 grade.

The Federation therefore recommends that all vehicles produced before 2000 and some vehicles from the early 2000s that are considered non-compatible with E10 - should use the Super E5 Protection grade where the Ethanol content is limited to a maximum of 5%. To check compatibility of vehicles produced since 2000, we recommend using the new online E10 compatibility checker:

It should be noted that some Super E5 Protection grade products do not contain Ethanol as the E5 designation is for fuels containing up to 5% Ethanol. Product availability varies by manufacturer and geographical location and enthusiasts should check the situation in their location.

   Update Reply
rocker21 @ 01/03/2021 12:34  

Very important info there Rocker, good post.

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Deleted Member @ 01/03/2021 22:34  

Thanks Rocker you posted this before I joined I've read this and been on the website where it says check vehicle hand books for comparability the hand book for my bike says use 95 Ron fuel or above E10 is higher but I don't think I'll risk it in my bike I read that E10 eats into aluminium and if it's not used it absorbs moisture not good if you leave your bike standing for a while I just wondered if anyone else had any thoughts on it

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Deleted Member @ 24/04/2021 03:30  

Hi Rhon.
Here's a quote description I picked up from another forum source. Note not my words:

As I understand it modern fuel is Reformulated Gasoline (RFG) It has ethanol in the mix (E5 is UK standard) to add oxygen to the gasoline to reduce emissions. The trouble with ethanol is that it likes water and has a greater affinity to bond with water than with gasoline. Modern E5 (5% ethanol average) fuel begins to breakdown after just 30 days. This is called phase separation. What does this mean for fuel systems on motorcycles? There will be phase separated gasoline in any fuel tank. This mixture of alcohol/water/gasoline is damaging to rubber components in fuel systems, older fuel tank liners, GRP and steel fuel tanks. When E10 (average 10% ethanol) becomes the UK norm later in 2021 this will become more of a problem, certainly for older bikes. Fuel stabilisers essentially aim to prevent fuel from 'phase separating' keeping the harmful alcohol joined to the gasoline and not grabbing water from the air. Bit long winded I know and simplified, but fuel stabilisers are a good thing unless you are running with a catalytic converter. It's always best to check fuel requirements and permitted additives with the manufacturers recommendations

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yorkie mick @ 24/04/2021 11:00  

Thanks Mick I don't think I'll be putting E10 in my bike the miles I do on it I'll pay the extra

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Deleted Member @ 24/04/2021 12:37  

Can’t see what all the fuss is about, ride your bike and use your fuel, if you are worried about it, drain carbs and tank, fuel stabilisers are ok but they don’t work forever, I have bikes stood for 2-3 months sometimes, never really had a problem, some are old, some are older, a couple are newer.

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Tezza1958 @ 24/04/2021 18:16  

This is actually a very interesting post/topic! 👍

I recently found my 2017 Gsx-R threw up a ‘EM light’ after being stood for a mere 3-4 months in my garage over winter...
The bike has less than 2000 miles on it and is an over pampered
‘garage queen’ really... But is ridden properly when out and cared for with no expense spared.

The bike is quite tuned and prefers to run on either ‘race fuel’ or when on the road typically uses ‘Super’ fuels and predominantly ‘Shell V-Max’ if I have to fill up from a fuel station.

However it IS capable of running on standard unleaded if I select a suitable mapping option and rides perfectly fine on it in all honesty.

I was surprised by the random
‘EML’ illuminated on the dash and so had a good friend of mine run so tests on it, it appears the error code thrown was pointing towards fuel quality and when tested the fuel showed signs of degradation despite only being 3-4 months old! 😲

Fuel is definitely NOT what it use to be and in all honesty I don’t trust new fuel types/quality and I’ve heard a lot of ‘Bad Press’ about High Ethanol quantity fuel mixes eating away at motorcycle parts from the inside.

I know the government is heavily focused on air quality and pollution reduction etc.. I get it!
But I hope it doesn’t come at the expense of the health and safety of our pride and joys!

Food for thought! 🤔
Tom ✌️

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TomSuzuki @ 26/04/2021 11:36  

one of my customers has had a real disaster, it ate the seals in the fuel taps and fuel leaked over the magneto and when he started it, BOOM it went up in flames , he chucked a fire blanket over it and emptied several fire extinguishers over it, what a mess, now got a major rebuild job.

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rocker21 @ 27/04/2021 14:24  

@Rocker21 - I use to work for Fowler’s motorcycles in Bristol and I’d heard that a lot tbh..
That the high ethanol fuel was eating seals on fuel pumps and certain other rubberised components.
In America Ethanol fuel is big business and a lot of them use it and tune their cars for it as it’s cheap and they can get some pretty big performance gains from running it apparently.

But I’ve heard if your vehicle isn’t setup correctly to use it, then you can really cause some damage too... Hence I’ve always stayed well clear of the stuff!

When I bought my new Gixxer thou in 2017 it had an E10 sticker on it which I believe was to indicate it was E10 ready? 🤷‍♂️ ...but I can’t bring myself to run the stuff, when I know just how damaging it can be! 🙈

   Update Reply
TomSuzuki @ 27/04/2021 14:39  

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