Sale of classic-damaging fuel to be approved by 2013


Petrol containing up to 10% ethanol that is known to attack classics’ engines and fuel systems could be on sale in the UK as soon as 2013, reports the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs.

The fuel can also cause running problems for cars as little as 10-years old and produces less horsepower.

The FBHVC’s Matthew Vincent said: “Higher octane petrol contains much reduced levels of ethanol as a general rule, so this may be worth considering for owners who are concerned about the adverse effects of ethanol.”

Federation-approved fuel additives that stop the corrosion include VSPe Power Plus, VSPe and EPS from Millers Oils; Ethomix from Frost Auto Restoration Techniques Ltd; and Ethanolmate from Flexolite.

Unlike petrol using 5% ethanol, which is currently on sale and not labelled, the new product will be marked as E10.

To find out more visit the FBHVC website.


Coventry Climax

The evil filth has been on sale here in Germany for quite a while already. Avoid it at all costs!

Chris Martin

E10 has been on sale here in Australia for quite a few years, I think it was first introduced when I first came here nine years ago, and has since become the standard default unleaded on every forecourt. There has been much debate, and it seems for modern cars designed to use it there is no problem. All of the usual debates about it's suitability for oldies have been going on for years, but here is what I have found to be the sensible facts after the panic died down.
Ethanol is hygroscopic, which means it attracts water from the atmosphere (in much the same way that brake fluid does) and it is this which causes the problems. For most users who run their cars regularly this alone is no problem, but for a car that may be left standing for some time the moisture will cause a lot of problems in the fuel system and corrosion in the tank. It can also attack certain materials, aluminium in-tank fuel pumps don't like it, and ethanol can also dissolve certain plastics too. The other point about it being down on power is valid too, I certainly noticed the difference in various 70s and 80s Mercedes, having to retard the timing so far to prevent knocking that they ran hot and were sluggish. I have since found running on the more expensive 95 octane (at least, 98 where available) is actually cheaper in that the car runs smoother and cooler plus uses a lot less petrol. How this E10 can be considered 'greener' beats me. By adding 10% ethanol the result is you may use more than 10% more fuel !
Chris M.



Both myself and some friends have had experience with enthanol
on our classics,it causes problems with warm starting,eats through fuel lines and rusts out petrol tanks its advised to either drain your tank during storage or fkeep full.

David Evans

Hi Chris

I've had the same experiences with the existing E5 that's sold in the UK.

The Citroën (in the second photo above) doesn't need the higher-octane fuel but burns it more efficiently and seems to run better with superunleaded of various varieties plus an additive. The metal fuel line that runs the length of the floorpan rusted through about a foot from the fuel tank. Rob, who runs Chevronics and who I bought the car from, had never known one of those pipes to go. And he's worked on GSAs and BXs etc since they were new.

All I could do was to hacksaw off a length of rotten metal and fit a longer piece of rubber pipe from the filter by the tank – and I've had to replace both bits of rubber pipe either side of the filter, plus the one from the pump to the carburettor. Rob has also had to replace loads of fuel lines on various cars over the past 12 months or so. Some could just be old, worn out metal and rubber but the increased ethanl content clearly doesn't help.

As Coventry Climax says, it's evil filth!

Chief tea-maker, C&SC


Here in New York I've been using E10 in both my modern cars, a Saab and a Mustang and my 1957 Triumph TR3-A. Ethanol eats aluminum, fuel lines, leaves a gel-like sludge in all the fuel lines. Reduces power.
I use an additive with every fill-up. I clean my fuel filter every 500 miles.
I top-up the fuel tank before parking in the garage for the winter using a heavy amount of additive. I know you can buy fuel lines that the ethanol will not eat through. But, that is only one part of the fuel delivery system there is still the tank, fuel pump, carburetors.
Friends with boats report holes in their fuel tanks.
E15 is on its way. 15% ethanol, a fuel that reduces the fuel mileage and horsepower for everyone. This is progress.
This is how politicians get paid lots of money for doing the wrong thing.


This is a serious threat to us, and should not be taken lightly. We MUST not end up with the useless situation as in leaded fuel, where a few stations still sell it but it is not freely available.
Ideally it should be stopped politically. The introduction of biofuels was an American initiative when they saw oil production being threatened. It is NOT green in any way, shape or form. There is government-sponsored profit to made in many parts of the world from growing it, and as a result large areas of essential land is being turned over to its production. This is affecting food crops, when half the world is starving, and rainforests, by which the environment breathes. As usual, a strong political movement with vested interests skews common sense!
Rant over - give my small block Ford V8s 5-star again, please....

E Holmes

I have a 1954 MGTF which still has a leaded head and I was thinking of fitting an unleaded one. I have been using Valvemaster Plus very successfully for 12 years with good performance. Should I fit a new one and use unleaded fuel or save the money and continue with "if it ain't broke don't fix it.

Vintage Spanner Man

I use this stuff to combat Ethanol added to modern fuel

It stops pumps rusting and fuel lines disintegrating. I saw a GTD40 pump only this week which was so rusty it had seized up.

Trouble is, Ethanol is hygroscopic, which means it attracts water from the atmosphere, and so rusted the pump out rendering it as scrap...

Peter Punter

Bardahl E10 Fuel Improver has been used for many years in Europe and the US to combat Ethanol in fuel. It also lubricates the valves.

Bardahl is a company with 73 years experience, operates in 93 countries and is trusted by 14 major car manufacturers and Boeing Aircraft to provide them with oils and additives.

I use it in my 1973 Lotus Elan +2, and Lotus Elise. My friends use it in a 1921 Calthorpe, 1937 Talbot and a 1950's Roller.

As New Vintage Spanner man says - Ethanol is hygroscopic as well as corrosive. Ethanol can also be detrimental to fuel economy.


Fuel is a major factor for vehicles. Petrol containing up to 10% ethanol can damage engines and fuel system. Mixed fuel can cause running problems of cars. Higher octane petrol contains much reduced levels of ethanol which is good for car. So preference should be given to clean petrol for better running and performance.
Mercedes Repair Naples

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