If you’re feeling the sting at the bowser, let’s explore a cheaper alternative – E10 fuel.

The price rise is due to tightening global crude oil prices and a weakening Australian dollar pushing petrol prices into seriously uncomfortable territory.

But what if there are more economical options out there? If you’ve ever stood at the bowser wondering if E10 is the fuel for you, here’s what you need to know.

What is E10 fuel?

E10 is a clear petrol mixture that contains up to 10 per cent ethanol, which is an organic alcohol sourced from grains like corn, food waste or sugar. The remaining 90 per cent consists of unleaded petrol.

You may have also seen E10 marketed at the bowser as 94-octane fuel.

Most of the ethanol used to make E10 comes from New South Wales or Queensland and is made by fermenting starch left over after wheat has been turned into flour, or from grain sorghum. The starch is fermented and converted into ethanol.

Is E10 better than petrol? 

Yes, it is typically cheaper than 91 unleaded petrol, and is often the cheapest option at petrol stations.

At the time of writing, the national average price for E10 was $1.92c. However, the price can vary greatly – with the cheapest option at the time of writing located in Moree, NSW, at $1.42, and the most expensive in Bowen, QLD at $3.63.

Unsurprisingly, a survey by BudgetDirect reveals that drivers running their car on E10 fuel averaged lower refill costs than any other oil-based fuel car, paying an average of $63.54 to refuel during each visit to the petrol station. This compares to $63.88 per refuel for unleaded 91 or unleaded 95 fuel, or $97.78 for diesel drivers.

When you look at the average cost of fuel these days, it’s definitely worth scanning the price of E10 near you next time you’re filling up at the local petrol station.

Is E10 safe for my car? 

It depends. Given it has a 94 octane rating, you can’t use E10 in anything that requires a minimum of premium unleaded petrol with an octane rating of 95 or higher.

Because E10 contains ethanol, it can be damaging for fuel systems that are not designed to use fuel with ethanol content. A lot of newer models will be able to take E10, but older cars might not. You can conduct a quick check on the NSW Government’s E10 compatibility checker here.

Some vehicles will make it easy by having an E10 label inside the fuel cap – indicating E10 is fine to use – but if you’re unsure, check your user manual.

How common is E10? 

E10 was introduced to the market about 20 years ago, so it has been tried and tested.

Bear in mind that in Australia, fuel quality standards require all petrol, including E10, to meet the same high standards.

Almost 90 per cent of Australians use a form of petroleum, compared to roughly 10 per cent that use diesel in their everyday car, while 16 per cent of all respondents use petroleum with a blend of ethanol, a 2022 survey conducted by Budget Direct found.

Is E10 less efficient? 

Yes, E10 is slightly less efficient in most car engines, meaning it won’t give you a comparative usage figure compared to your usual fuel type.

Still, it’s no worse than driving on tyres without enough air pressure, so the difference is marginal.

Is E10 better for the environment? 

Yes, it burns cleaner and cooler than an oil-based petrol, which makes it eco-friendly.

The NSW Government says that E10 fuel can lower greenhouse gas and other emissions that cause serious health and environmental damage.

The CSIRO found that E10 fuel produced under Australian conditions has between two per cent and five per cent lower CO2 emissions than regular unleaded petrol.

Meanwhile, a study by the CSIRO into the health impacts of ethanol-blended petrol found E10 reduces particle emissions by between 20 and 30 per cent, thereby reducing health impacts, compared to regular unleaded petrol.

Now that you’re in the know, make sure you keep an eye on E10 prices near you!

Extracted in full from:  https://www.drive.com.au/caradvice/is-e10-better-than-91-benefits-downsides/

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