Should you fill up with E10 or not? What drivers should know

Super E10 is cheaper than conventional gasoline and protects the environment. However, not all cars tolerate the use of biofuels – many drivers have concerns. Should it be filled with E10 or not? Compatibility overview, price and benefits.

In addition to conventional gasoline, diesel and natural gas, Super E10 can also be found at every filling station. E10 biofuels have been on the fuel market since 2011 however it hasn’t really been discovered to this day – there is still a lot of ignorance about biofuels. If you want to save money on packaging and at the same time protect the environment, you should consider using E10.

According to the ADAC, this is the “best antidote to high fuel prices.” After all, the price per liter is on average five to six cents cheaper than Super E5, a conventional gasoline. According to the Automobile Club, up to four euros can be saved with each tank of fuel, and frequent drivers can save more than 50 euros annually.

However, most drivers prefer the more expensive Super E5. According to the Director General of the Federal Association of the German Bioethanol Industry (BDBe), Stefan Walter, the share of E10 has increased recently, but in December and January it represented only 20 percent of gasoline consumption in Germany – even if Walter also assumes that this trend will continue due to higher gasoline prices. Currently.

Managing Director BDBe sees an ongoing need for information on the subject of E10. Many drivers still mistakenly assume that fuel is harmful to their car. As a spokesperson for the Biofuels Consortium told Tageschau: “There is a long-standing acceptance issue.”

Most cars can handle Super E10

E10 differs in its properties from conventional gasoline due to its higher ethanol content and therefore a higher octane number than conventional gasoline. The letter “E” stands for ethanol obtained from grain, corn or sugar beets, and the number “10” indicates the percentage of gasoline. In 2011, so-called biofuels were introduced at German filling stations. Before that, the permissible content of ethanol in gasoline was limited to a maximum of five percent (E5).

So the Super E10 annoys many drivers at the pump. ADAC explains: “All gasoline cars in stock are now E10 fit.” As a rule, all vehicles built after November 2010 are E10 tolerated. We’re talking about 90 percent of all cars. But also many very old and very young people can use gasoline with up to ten percent bioethanol content without spoiling.

However, if you are not sure if your car really tolerates E10, you can look for it in your car’s operating instructions. Alternatively, information can be obtained from the vehicle manufacturer, dealer, workshop or online from Deutsche Automobil Treuhand GmbH and ACEA.

However, if the car does not tolerate Super E10, the fuel can attack the aluminum components as well as the seals and lines in the fuel system after refueling – thus becoming a safety hazard. If the car is E10 compliant, you don’t have to worry about possible damage. “Using E10 has no effect on functional reliability, service life, wear and tear,” the ADAC says. E10 and E5 can also be filled alternately without hesitation – provided, of course, that the car can handle E10.

There are also concerns about the effects of E10 on fuel consumption. Its use leads to an additional “theoretical” consumption of about one percent. However, the Automobile Club assures: “With the same driving style, it is worth filling in the E10, even if the energy content is somewhat lower.”

Climate friendly or not?

In addition, there are criticisms of the ecological balance of biofuels. According to the ADAC, biofuels are “largely climate neutral.” Because the carbon dioxide emitted when driving is first removed from the atmosphere by plants. In addition, E10 reduces nitrogen oxides and particulate matter. According to the Automobile Club, biofuels can save up to three million tons of carbon dioxide annually in road traffic.

However, arable land is required for biofuel production. So there is a concern that sensitive areas such as forests and thus habitats will be converted into agricultural land. There are also concerns about competition for land for food production or the negative effects of changes in land use. The result will be extremely high emissions of greenhouse gases.

According to BDBe, only four percent of the grain crop and 2 percent of arable land is used to produce German bioethanol. In Germany, the Biofuels Sustainability Act states that areas with high carbon content or high biodiversity may not be used to grow plants for biofuel production. In addition, the grain used can only be used as feed, but not for eating, according to Managing Director BDBe Walter for “Tagesschau”. By-products can arise during production – such as protein-containing animal feeds that can replace soybean imports.

However, environmentalists see it differently. Since the beginning of the Ukraine war, biofuel producers have been criticized by many environmental organizations. Greenpeace calls for a ban on the use of biofuels. “Fresh oil like rapeseed oil doesn’t belong in the tank, but on the dining table,” quotes Tageschau Martin Hofstetter, Greenpeace agricultural expert. According to him, the amount of rapeseed oil used annually in car fuel instead of cooking and food is twelve liters per person.

Agriculture Minister Cem Ozdemir calls biofuels ‘unsustainable’

Meanwhile, the E10 is also a topic of politics. Agriculture Minister Cem Ozdemir also supports the use of less grain to produce fuel. “It is not sustainable to pour wheat and corn into the tank,” the green politician said. Federal Development Assistance Minister Svenja Schulze made a similar statement. The SPD politician said the corn and grain in the tank were the worst in these difficult times.

On the other hand, manufacturers continue to subsidize biofuels. The German Biofuel Industry Association demands that “the use of biofuels should not be restricted by law”. The market reacts to war, which has an effect. “It’s not worth producing for producers right now,” she says.

In addition, E10 contributes to nutrition and industrial production at the same time. In fact, bioethanol is also used, for example, as a chemical solvent, cleaning agent and antifreeze in the medical field or as a fuel.

Sources: ADAC, VCD, AVD, BDBE, Tagesschau with dpa

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