Low carbon road transport, biofuels and E10 petrol
Surface transport in the UK is estimated to contribute 25% of all UK carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions falling by only 1.3% in 2011. (Source: Committee on Climate Change, 2013).
There are many complementary initiatives underway to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from road transport supported by all stakeholders in the industry. These include reductions in vehicle mileage, driver training, intelligent vehicle operation and reductions in fuel consumption achieved through continuous improvement in vehicle efficiency. There are also significant reductions in GHG emissions to be made through the use of lower carbon fuels.
While electric and gaseous fuelled vehicles are emerging options, the road transport sector is still dominated by the traditional liquid fuels of diesel and petrol, and this will be the case for many years to come, so initiatives to reduce the carbon intensity of these fuels have the potential to deliver very significant reductions in UK road transport GHG emissions.
Currently the most widespread method of reducing GHG emissions from liquid road fuels is the use of biofuels, either blended into regular fossil fuels or used at higher concentrations in dedicated vehicle fleets. A biofuel can reduce the GHG impact of road fuels through the absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere which occurs as the fuel source is grown. Biofuels are often produced from waste products, such as used cooking oils, and from by-products and residues.
Currently two thirds of passenger cars on the UK’s roads operate on petrol so reducing the carbon intensity of petrol in the UK market has the potential to make a substantial GHG saving. Bioethanol is an alcohol which can be blended with petrol to reduce the CO2 impact of petrol.
At a European level legislation in the form of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED) and the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD) have been introduced in order to increase the usage of renewable fuels in the transport sector. In the UK this has been implemented through the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO).
Road fuels are very carefully controlled and the specification of fuels is defined at a European level. In 2012 the specification for petrol was changed to increase the maximum level of ethanol allowed from 5% to 10% by volume. Any fuel sold to the new specification will be clearly labelled on the dispenser as ‘unleaded petrol 95 E10’ (see Specific E10 FAQs).
The following frequently asked questions are working documents compiled by members of the LowCVP in order to help provide clear information to relevant stakeholders and answer any questions about E10 petrol. Please contact the LowCVP if you have any specific questions or comments.
Frequently Asked Questions