Bexhill 100 Motoring Club
Bexhill on Sea - The Birthplace of British Motor Racing (1902)
With the recent compulsory introduction of this new fuel type many Classic car owners are naturally concerned about problems it may cause to their pride and joy. There is no doubt that biofuels which have been around now for many years it will cause problems in older cars such as deterioration of rubber components, damage to rubber fuel lines, rusting in tanks and other rather complicated issues such as galvanic corrosion which is beyond the scope of this article here, however there is a book called “Classic Engines, Modern Fuel” by Paul Ireland which is very informative . 152 pages in all which if you are technically minded is an excellent read. Talking with members of the Club showed me that there is a lot of confusion about the best course of action to take going forward at this present time. One certainty is that we are stuck with bio fuels containing ethyl alcohol long-term however fortunately at present there are a couple of ways to still avoid it completely.
E10 means that there can be up to 10% ethanol blended into the fuel.
E5 means that there can be up to 5 % ethanol blended into the fuel.
Please note I said “up to” as that is the official notation. The fuel can legally actually contain no ethanol whatsoever if that is what that particular fuel supplier wishes to buy and sell however most will have some added alcohol.
In East Sussex we are fortunate to have a group of petrol stations branded “Power“, who sell 95 octane unleaded petrol which they advise contains no alcohol and that whilst it is still available they will continue to sell it. They actually mark their pumps “E0” which according to my understanding is not an official description however it does emphasise their policy. This is an excellent way to avoid biofuel provided your vehicle runs on 95 octane however there are significant numbers who need 99 octane/super/premium or whatever the fuel company like to call it. Regretfully UK fuels do not sell this but currently there is still one fuel company, Esso whose premium unleaded called “Synergy Supreme+99“ currently contains no biofuel element at all unless you live in parts of Cornwall Northern England and Scotland. They don’t shout about this much so I am not convinced that this will continue ad infinitum. They label the pump “E5” and their website confirms this information. So in the short term it is possible for us all to avoid these fuels. Long-term as the biofuel slowly but inexorably affects our cars we will require modifications and upgrades to live with the issue.