Petrol could be made more eco-friendly - but it will risk damaging older cars

More eco-friendly petrol could be available from garages next year, under plans to significantly reduce the UK’s carbon footprint.

The government is consulting on making E10 – which contains much less carbon and extra ethanol – the standard petrol grade.

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The change may just reduce CO2 emissions from transport by 750,000 tonnes per year, the Department for Transport said. This is equivalent to taking 350,000 cars off the road.

Reduce environmental impact

Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said, “The next 15 years will be absolutely crucial for slashing emissions from our roads, as we all start to feel the benefits of the transition to a zero-emission future.

“But before electric cars become the norm, we want to take advantage of reduced CO2 emissions today. This small switch to petrol containing bioethanol at 10 per cent will help drivers across the country reduce the environmental impact of every journey.”

However analysis from the transport department two years ago revealed that up to one million cars registered before the year 2000 are unable to use E10 without the risk of damaging their engine.

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Current petrol grades within the UK – referred to as E5 – include up to five per cent bioethanol. The switch to E10 would see this amount increase up to 10 per cent.

Net zero carbon emissions by 2050?

The UK, which will host the United Nations climate change conference in November, aims to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Garages will initially be expected to sell normal petrol, which is blended with five per cent bioethanol, alongside the new version.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to scrap decade long freezes on fuel duty in his Budget next week.

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The first that is expected to go will be the £2.4 billion so-called ‘red diesel’ subsidy for off-road farming and construction vehicles. But speculation has mounted that it will be extended to end the freeze on fuel duty for all motorists.