Was the switch to E10 eco-petrol to blame for the UK’s fuel crisis? 

Now that the UK’s fuel crisis is nearly at an end, consumers and retailers are beginning to ask what caused the shortages in the first place. 

So far, a number of issues have been blamed, including HGV driver shortages, Brexit, and mass panic buying, which resulted in long queues at petrol pumps across the country. 

However, the Petrol Retailers Association has claimed that another reason for the shortages was the government’s recent switch from E5 petrol to E10. So, is this true? 

E10 petrol is, according to the government, an eco-friendly alternative as it has a higher percentage of ethanol than E5 petrol, with a 5% increase. 

Ethanol is the world’s most widely used biofuel and is produced by fermenting crops like corn. It’s considered to be a greener alternative as the plants grown to make it absorb more carbon than they produce when they burn.  

Officials claim that 750,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions could be saved every year by switching to E10 fuel in the UK, which is the equivalent of removing 350,000 from the roads. 

Was switching to E10 behind the petrol shortages? 

In an interview with The Telegraph, the CEO of the PRA Brian Medderson claimed that the switch to E10 caused a sudden fall in petrol availability, as petrol stations were trying to sell off their old E5 stock. 

He added that, once the panic buying began, petrol stations couldn’t keep up with the huge surge in demand due to a shortage of delivery drivers. 

Current legislation says that fuel retailers in the UK are still permitted to use their E5 stock until November 1st, and data shows that deliveries only dipped slightly last month. 

But, after warnings that a lack of HGV drivers meant a small number of petrol stations would close, queues began to build up amid fears of a larger shortage. 

The government has insisted that there is “no national shortage of fuel in the UK” and that even if switching to E10 contributed to the problem, the crisis was more likely to be caused by driver shortages and panic buying. 

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