11 March 2019

New fuel pump labelling to be introduced to help drivers pick the right fuel

Drivers will see new fuel pump labelling on forecourts by September in a bid to end incidents of misfuelling and help them understand the biofuel content of petrol and diesel when they fill up.

  • Filling stations will roll out new fuel labels by September 2019.
  • New labels will inform drivers about the biofuel content of petrol and diesel.
  • New labels will be the same across the EU, helping drivers to choose the right fuel when abroad.

The Department for Transport has said that it expects all filling stations to roll out the new labels. The uniform European Union-wide labels are also aimed at preventing drivers from filling up with the wrong fuel when abroad.

Last year, the carbon dioxide (CO2) savings from using biofuels in road transport was equivalent to taking more than one million cars off the UK's roads.

Blending biofuels into regular petrol and diesel reduces CO2 emissions, helping the UK to meet climate change commitments. Petrol, which contains up to 5% renewable ethanol, will in the future be labelled 'E5', while diesel, which contains up to 7% biodiesel, will be labelled 'B7'.

The labels will appear on the pumps on every forecourt and on the filler caps of all new vehicles, allowing, said the Department for Transport, drivers to easily match the correct fuel to their car or motorbike. Roll out of the new labelling will be accompanied by a wider public information campaign later this year.

The labels have been designed to 'clearly indicate' the maximum renewable fuel content, thus supporting the communication of any future introduction of E10 petrol, a grade with up to 10% renewable ethanol.

The Department for Transport said the labels would be increasingly important as new fuels, such as E10 petrol, came onto the market.

In 2018 it issued a call for evidence on whether and how best to introduce E10. Responses to the call for evidence are now being considered and the Department for Transport said it planned to issue its decision later in 2019.

Whether E10 petrol becomes available in addition to a forecourt's current offering, or replaced the 'super grade' would, said the Department for Transport, be at retailers' discretion.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has estimated that 92.2% of the petrol-engined vehicles in the UK were compatible with E10, but the remainder, typically older models, were not. As of 2011, all new cars sold in the UK must be E10 compatible. B7 diesel can be used in all diesel vehicles.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "These new labels will help drivers chose the right fuel for their vehicle, whilst also highlighting the use of biofuels in reducing the CO2 emissions from everyday road vehicles.

"Our 'Road to Zero Strategy' set out our ambition to end the sale of diesel and petrol cars by 2040, while the ongoing decarbonising of traditional fuels will help during this transition."