On November 1, Northern Ireland will welcome E10 petrol to its forecourts in a move that will align the country with Great Britain. E10 fuel will become the new standard gasoline grade when rolled out, with the current form of unleaded, E5, being upgraded to premium unleaded.
The petrol is blended with up to 10% renewable ethanol and will help Northern Ireland decarbonise transport as it is greener than existing petrol.
The RAC has warned that thousands of vehicles are not compatible with E10 gasoline and will have to use alternative fuels.
As a general rule, drivers of cars registered before 2002 are advised not to use E10 in their vehicle, as problems have been reported.
Louis Rix, COO and co-founder of CarFinance 247, warned drivers they could find themselves paying hundreds of pounds extra every year.
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The government has an E10 fuel checker that allows drivers to sort through manufacturers and models to see if their car is compatible.
Mr Rix added: “Unless the Government can assure all petrol drivers that prices will remain consistent between unleaded (E10) and super unleaded (E5), drivers will be forced to either accept a significant increase in the cost of fuel or upgrade their vehicles to a cheaper and greener option.
“Those with vehicles that are incompatible with E10, switching to an electric vehicle may prove to be a more cost effective solution than buying a newer petrol car, as even E10 fuel users will see a slight increase costs.”
All new cars sold in the UK after 2011 must be E10 compatible, with manufacturers using petrol for testing since the early 2010s.
A small number of older vehicles, including classic cars and some from the early 2000s, will continue to require E5 fuel, which is why E5 gasoline supplies will be maintained in the “premium” gasoline category .