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E10 fuel and how it affects your petrol-powered garden tools

From 1st September 2021, E10 petrol will replace E5 as the most common petrol type in the UK. The government are making the switch to E10 in order to help reduce carbon emissions and tackle climate change.

What is E10 fuel?

• 'E' refers to the ethanol content within the fuel. E10 fuel contains 10% renewable ethanol, compared to E5 fuel containing only 5% renewable ethanol. Using E10 instead of E5 fuel will help to reduce carbon dioxide emissions associated with petrol usage. E10 fuel has been used in Europe for several years.

What does this mean for me?

• The greater the ethanol content in the petrol, the greater the chance of moisture building up in the fuel tank of garden power tools over long periods of time. This could pose real problems for you if your equipment is not properly maintained.

• Increased proportion of ethanol can increase the risk of moisture being drawn into the engine through the diaphragm. This increased moisture can lead to greater corrosion within the engine and moisture build up at the bottom of the fuel tank. Subsequently trying to start the engine can break it.

• Fuel left in the tank will create a layer of moisture at the bottom and will condense overtime forming a ‘gum’ when mixed with the fuel. When this solidifies and the engine is subsequently started up again, the build-up can be pulled through and block key engine components e.g. the carburettor. Equally, fuel left for extended periods can corrode the engine from the inside out.

Is it safe to use E10 fuel in my garden power tools?

• Yes, it is safe. Existing petrol engines are calibrated for E10, and manufacturers have advised that current and older engine models are compatible and will continue to work as normal using E10. European based manufacturers often use petrol during product testing. For context, all new cars manufactured since 2011 are compatible with E10.

• You may experience a very marginal loss of performance when using E10, but this should be very tough to notice. However, bigger considerations need to be given to maintaining and storing products. Read our advice below for more information.

Advice on caring for petrol-powered garden tools

• Always use fuel which is no more than 30 days old. Fresh fuel is paramount in ensuring engines continue to run smoothly.

• If the product is to be stored for 30 days or longer, do not leave any fuel in the tank.

• Although not essential, you may wish to use a fuel stabiliser to optimise the performance of your garden petrol engines. This won’t stop moisture being drawn in, but can help protect the fuel system from corrosion and gum formation.

 

You can learn more about the benefits of E10 fuel on gov.uk.