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Government Launches Website to Publicise Fuel Labelling Changes

New, eco-friendly, petrol and diesel labels help you identify the right fuel for your vehicle – both here and abroad

How labels work

New labelling makes it easy to spot the correct fuel for your vehicle and assess its environmental credentials from September 2019 in the United Kingdom, the Department for Transport’s new website Know Your Fuel confirms. Never fear, though. There is no change to the fuel itself that emerges from your pump. It simply has a new label.

Perhaps your car takes petrol, for example. If so, the label incorporates a black circle. Within the circle is a letter and number such as E5. The E proves the petrol contains a percentage of renewable, low carbon emission, ethanol fuel that is mixed with more traditional alternatives. The 5 states the maximum percentage.

Naturally, look for a different label if you need diesel. It incorporates a square that contains a letter and number such as B7. The B proves the fuel contains a percentage of renewable, eco-friendly, low emission biodiesel. The 7 is your maximum percentage.

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The Department for Transport says mixing these renewable, low emission, fuels with traditional alternatives reduces carbon emissions significantly. In 2018, it says, the reduction was equivalent to taking ‘more than 1 million cars off the UK’s roads’.

Where to find the labels

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Forecourts must soon display the labels by law. See them on fuel pumps, for example. In addition, if your car is new there is a label on its filler cap. This, of course, proves what fuel is most suitable so you can search for the relevant label on the fuel pump.

Furthermore, the labelling system applies throughout Europe. The benefit is that you can take your car abroad and easily spot the right fuel. Simply look for the label. The system, therefore, minimises the risk of pumping the wrong fuel which is a costly mistake. Your car is likely to breakdown. Further benefits include:

  • Saves time, e.g. quickly identify the correct fuel pump
  • Less stress, e.g. be sure your car is getting the right fuel

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Labels increasingly important

The Department for Transport said that ‘these labels will be increasingly important as new fuels come to market’. Consider E10, for instance. Whereas this petrol – that contains up to 10% renewable ethanol – is not yet available throughout the United Kingdom it is common in mainland Europe (and many other countries).

The spokesperson added: ‘These new labels will help drivers choose the right fuel for their vehicle, whilst also highlighting the use of biofuels in reducing the carbon emissions from everyday road vehicles.’ The system is part of a wider strategy to minimise the pollution which causes health problems, the spokesperson concluded. 

'The B proves the fuel contains' Think you mean 'indicates' the fuel contains, doesn't 'prove' its that! Small, subtle point, but for anyone who has filled up and realized the garage messed up the fuel, not so much!

What about 95 octane?

Would it not have made more sense to label it P5 for petrol and D7 for diesel?

Why don't they leave things as they are, petrol label on a petrol pump and a diesel label on a diesel pump?

Sorry but, this article is confusing. Super unleaded is 98 RON, unleaded is 95 RON. Is 95 unleaded disappearing? On the continent, E10 is 95 RON.

High levels of ethanol are very damaging to some vintage vehicles. So it may well be useful if there is a choice between E3 and E5 at a garage, especially if E10 becomes common. You'd not want to put that into any older vehicle.

It would be good if they contained the amount of bioethanol quoted. Many bulk tankering facilities do not mix the fuel properly before road tankers take on their load, resulting in some awful mixes on occasions.

That's to easy

What a load of rubbish. Fuel consumption increases as these fuels are less efficient so there is no saving, certainly not in your pockets but then when has any global warming measure saved money. The ethanol petrol damages fuel systems.

If all new cars are supposed to be all electric (from 2030 or maybe earlier) this is a waste of time and effort. Just get the electric infrastructure ready, stop faffing about with something that's going to be obsolete in the next 15 years. "Saves time, e.g. quickly identify the correct fuel pump?" Don't make me laugh! Imagine all those motorists searching round the forecourt for the right letter/number/symbol combination! Assuming that the garage in question stocks all the right right fuels. And as BrianN2 points out, can be relied upon to put the right fuel in the right pump.

Yet another rip off no doubt

If the labelling system applies across Europe, then I very much doubt that the UK Department of Transport is responsible for it.