After two painfully long consultations, it looks as if E10 petrol will be introduced to UK petrol stations this September. Currently, UK petrol uses a maximum of five per cent ethanol (E5), made from wheat or sugar beet, but E10 doubles that concentration, which could spell trouble for older cars…

Why? Because ethanol is hygroscopic, so absorbs water from the atmosphere, potentially leading to corrosion in metal fuel tanks, fuel lines and carburettors. It’s also a solvent, and the higher concentration can eventually disintegrate plastic and rubber, so fuel lines, washers and diaphragms in older carbs and fuel systems could be at risk.

The saving grace for classic VW owners is the government has committed to retaining some E5, which will still be available in higher octane ‘Super’ grade fuels. However, as that is typically already more than 13p per litre than regular unleaded, filling up is going to be expensive.

A cheaper, and safer, option is to replace old rubber fuel lines with modern J30/R9 fuel hose (and, where possible, update carb floats, seals and associated fittings, too). Oh, and be sure to add fuel hose checks to your regular service and inspection routine.

You can see if your ‘modern’ vehicle is E10 compatible at www.gov.uk/check-vehicle-e10-petrol, but it’s pointless if you own any kind of classic as it only lists post-2000 models (in which case you should change those hoses as a matter of course!)

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