E10 petrol gives fuel for thought

You may not have heard of E10 but it’s the new standard unleaded petrol being introduced in September 2021.

The current standard unleaded petrol, with an octane rating of 95 RON, is E5. That means it has no more than 5% ethanol. So E10 unleaded will contain up to 10% ethanol and a minimum of 5.5%.

Up to 10% of renewable ethanol is being added to the fossil fuel to cut UK transport CO2 emissions by 750,000 tonnes a year and help tackle climate change.

Most cars and motorbikes will run on E10 and it’s already being used in America and some European countries.

But ethanol is a solvent and can harm some gaskets and seals on older bikes, not designed to run on it, and resins used in glass fibre. It can also cause plastic fuel tanks to swell.

Older bikes with carburettors or early fuel-injection systems may run slightly lean on E10 petrol but can be retuned.

If your motorbike or car is not able to run on E10 petrol you can still use super unleaded (97/98 RON) which will remain E5.

Motorbikes made since 2011 are fine to use E10, as are many older bikes.

  • KTM motorcycles and ATVs are compatible with E10 from model year 2000 onwards
  • All Suzuki motorcycles from 2002 model year onwards can use E10 with no problems, as can some models from 1992 to 2001
  • Kawasaki says post-2006 models would be OK on E10 but advised customers not to use the fuel in bikes not specifically approved

You can check out if your motorbike can use E10 at www.gov.uk/check-vehicle-e10-petrol