It’s a niggling question you’ve probably had in the back of your mind – should you put E10 in your car? Can you? The ethanol-blended fuel has been around for a while, along with a whole swag of questions regarding its usability and level of safety for your car.
So we might dismiss the thought for a while, but that doesn’t change when we pull up at the bowser and notice that the fuel is noticeably cheaper than the other options. Which brings us back to the question – should you run it in your car? Here are my thoughts on the most common questions that surface around E10.
Is E10 Bad For Your Car?
This was the most common reason I think we had for shying away from bio-fuel when it first came out. Because the fuel contained ethanol, it had the ability to damage gaskets, seals, hoses, and other rubber fittings in older engines via corrosion.
E10 produced today has anti-corrosion compounds added to it to help prevent this kind of thing from happening, fortunately. However, vehicles that use carburettors instead of fuel injectors, or for vehicles that are 10 years or older aren’t physically built to burn E10 well or efficiently, and running the bio-fuel would be detrimental to the engine.
However, most modern and standard vehicles have been built to run E10, since it’s being phased in as the replacement for ULP, so they should be fine to run the fuel.
If last year’s story about contaminated E10 in Sydney (20 cars broke down on the M4 in June 2015) made you wary, you should check this article. Although this fuel was indeed the one that was compromised, the reason why it was compromised was due to water seeping into the fuel tank at the Eastern Creek service station. It could have happened to any of the fuel tanks – it just so happened to be the E10 that copped it.
Is E10 A More Efficient Fuel?
Because of its different makeup, E10 burns a little differently to premium fuels – it provides more ‘zip’, but your car will use more of it to get from A to B, meaning that it tends to work out either costing the same amount or a little more than premium fuels in terms of kilometres per litre.
Given that it is cheaper than other fuels at the pump, it can end up being the option of choice depending on circumstances. In a study run in 2012 comparing consumption, distance covered, and price at pump, E10 was found to sit very close to premium fuel, with the premium just edging out. The study concluded that in both highway and city driving circumstances, Premium 98 fuel won out in terms of bang for buck.
Should You Put E10 In Your Car?
If your car is a high-performance vehicle, I’m going to say a firm ‘no’. Performance vehicles have been designed to run on 98 Premium and really should stick to that option. However, if your goal is just getting from A to B…
Most manufacturers will list, either in the vehicle’s manual, or on the inside of the fuel door, what kinds of fuel are and are not okay for your car to run. If you don’t fancy the fancy stuff, and your car is new enough to run it, E10 won’t harm it. Just check first.