1 July 2019

New fuel pump labels appear in forecourts as MPs call for 'greener' petrol to be available

Drivers will start to see new fuel pump labelling on garage forecourts to inform them about ‘greener fuels’ and prevent incidents of misfuelling with the launch of a Government campaign.

  • The new labelling is being introduced to inform drivers about ‘greener fuels’
  • This comes after a group of MPs call for the UK-wide introduction by next year of E10
  • The new petrol pump label always uses a circle and the diesel label uses a square

Fuel retailers have until September 1 to implement the new fuel labels, which promote the benefits of biofuels.

Roll-out of the new fuel pump labels comes as a group of MPs call for the UK-wide introduction by next year of E10, a new 'cleaner and greener' petrol containing up to 10% of renewable ethanol. The fuel is already widely available across Europe, the United States of America, Australia and many other parts of the world.

Renewable fuels - such as ethanol and biodiesel - reduce overall carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, says the Department for Transport, and help the UK meet its climate change targets.

The new petrol pump label always uses a circle and the diesel label a square. The petrol label contains the letter E - standing for ethanol - and a number indicating the maximum renewable ethanol content, which is currently 5%. Hence the new petrol label is E5.

Similarly, the new diesel label contains the letter B - standing for biodiesel - and a number indicating the maximum biodiesel content, which is currently 7%. Hence the new diesel label is B7.

New vehicles will display the applicable label close to the fuel filler cap and in the vehicle's handbook, so drivers can match the label on their vehicle to the fuels available at forecourts. There is no change to quality of the unleaded petrol and diesel that is currently on sale in the UK. Ethanol has been blended into petrol and biodiesel into diesel for more than a decade.

There are also labels for other fuels such as liquefied petroleum gas - a diamond shape displaying the letters LPG - and hydrogen - a diamond shape displaying H2.

Transport Minister Michael Ellis said: "Drivers should be aware of the environmental impact of their travel choices, and seeing this when they are buying fuel can help remind them why decarbonising transport is so important.

"Biofuels are a key way of achieving the emissions reductions the UK needs, and their use reduced CO2 emissions by 2.7 million tonnes last year alone - the equivalent of taking around 1.2 million cars off the road.

"Our new campaign will help drivers understand the role of biofuels, while also choosing the right fuel for their vehicle at home and abroad.

"Biofuels can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90% compared to fossil fuels, and the campaign is set to highlight the crucial role that they will play during the transition to electric vehicles. Last year, 1.6 billion litres of renewable transport fuels were supplied in the UK."

To further help decarbonise transport, 'greener' fuels such as E10 - a petrol grade with up to 10% renewable ethanol - could be available in the UK in the future. The Government held a public consultation on how and whether to introduce E10 to the UK last year and is due publish its response in the second half of 2019.

Meanwhile, the All Party Parliamentary Group for British Bioethanol has published its interim report into the introduction of E10. Its recommendations include calls for the Department for Transport to host emergency summit on E10 before the summer

The group claims that introducing E10 would save the equivalent emissions of taking up to 700,000 cars off the road, and highlighted rising demand for petrol-engined models in the wake of the so-called 'demonisation' of diesel.

Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group Nic Dakin said: "Our inquiry has heard there are in fact increasing numbers of petrol cars on UK roads, and these cars are getting bigger and increasingly less fuel efficient on average. With mass adoption of pure electric cars decades away and the decreasing popularity of diesel, increasing volumes of petrol are being sold.

"With an urgent need to address the causes of climate change, improve air quality and support job creation in emerging green industries, practical measures which make petrol cars cleaner and greener must be a top priority for the Government which must now work to mandate the introduction of E10 in the UK by 2020 at the latest."