Is the classic car market under threat because of E10 petrol?

• Problems E10 petrol can cause in a classic vehicle
• Environmentally friendly
• Availability

The classic vehicle market is one that is worth £18 billion annually, it’s steeped in history, loyalty and pride, but with the desire for the world to become more environmentally friendly, could it be put to the side and shunned, rather than celebrated for the exciting industry it is?

While classic vehicles can run on the E5 petrol currently on sale, the new E10 fuel, with its higher percentage of ethanol can cause all sorts of problems for them.

According to the Department for Transport (DfT), the potential issues include:

• Blocked fuel filters
• Damaged fuel pumps
• Degradation to flexible fuel hoses
• Corroded carburettors

There’s already an agreement in terms of petrol stations needing to be selling E5 petrol where there is a certain volume of petrol being sold, but that might lessen over time. However, the history of cars has always been about innovation and development, so manufacturers are already looking at solutions, like synthetic fuels.

Petrol stations that stock both grades of petrol and supply at least one million litres of fuel each year will need to make sure one product is the super E5 protection grade, but not all filling stations will necessarily be able to do that, so you could see some petrol stations not supplying it. However, there’s still going to be plenty of E5 out there and also others are looking at additives you can put into the tank to allow the engine to run efficiently on E10.

Classic vehicles are little pieces of history and deserve to be maintained and cared for. While no one would want to see them sitting idle in a museum, there’s a fear that in the next few decades that’s where they’ll be because owners will be unable to find suitable fuel and therefore will not be able to drive them.

This may not be a problem for every classic car, but there is likely to be a significant majority that will be affected by it. Helpfully, the Government has commissioned a dedicated page on its website to allow owners to check whether their car will be able to run on E10 petrol:

Owners of classic vehicles are dedicated to preserving their long term survival, which is why they are generally not driven much during the year, particularly during the winter. Driving them less frequently also limits the amount of emissions they produce. However, if the cost for fuel skyrockets, it’s likely that this annual mileage will drop further, which can cause other mechanical problems due to the engine not being run and the vehicle not used enough and, ultimately, that could lead to it being written off and another piece of motoring history lost to the nation.

Article from in the category: Magazine