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New labelling rules will help prevent misfuels, says DfT

New EU-wide fuelling labels are to be rolled out in the UK under plans to help motorists identify the right fuel and tell them the biofuel content ahead of the introduction of E10 petrol.

The change to Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) will deliver eco benefits but the introduction of E10 petrol could bring about cost increases

The proposals come ahead of a DfT response on the consultation on how best to introduce E10

As announced by the DfT today (27 February), the proposals – which follow a consultation last summer – would see all filling stations roll out the new labels by September 2019, which will be accompanied by a wider public information campaign later this year. The move comes as the DfT publishes its responses to the July 2018 consultation on fuel labelling.

Under the proposals, all new vehicles sold in the UK would have labels near the filler cap and in the manual in order to help motorists identify the fuels compatible with their vehicle. Similarly, every filling station will need to apply the same labels to their fuel dispensers. The labels will cover petrol and diesel grades as well as other alternative fuels such as LPG and hydrogen.

The labels are based on a British standard developed in partnership with other European countries, and are being introduced across Europe.

The proposals also bring measures intended to help drivers understand the biofuel content of the fuels they use every day. Petrol that contains up to 5% renewable ethanol will be labelled ‘E5’, while diesel that contains up to 7% biodiesel will be labelled as ‘B7’.

A DfT spokesperson said: “These new labels will help drivers choose the right fuel for their vehicle, whilst also highlighting the use of biofuels in reducing the CO2 emissions from everyday road vehicles.

“Our Road to Zero strategy set out our ambition to end the sale of diesel and petrol cars by 2040, while the ongoing decarbonising of traditional fuels will help during this transition.

“The labels will appear on the pumps on every forecourt and on the filler caps of all new vehicles, allowing motorists to easily match the correct fuel to their car or motorbike.”

The DfT added that it’s still looking into its plans to roll out E10 higher-concentration bioethanol in the UK, which was also discussed in the consultation following changes to the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO).

The consultation looked at how and when E10 would be available, and ways to still offer affordable E5 petrol on forecourts, as well as new labels on cars and pumps to help consumers decide.

A DfT response to the E10 part of the consultation is due later in 2019.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.