RAC Cars News


Fuel Options In The UK

By raccars Published

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Apart from the familiar petrol and diesel, you may have noticed some alternative options available at your local filling station. These are sometimes touted as environmentally friendly replacements for standard fuels but it's not quite that simple.


Biodiesel and bioethanol are plant derived diesel and ethanol fuels, so they don't come from oil. They can replace standard diesel and petrol either on their own or mixed.

The Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation of 2008 stipulated that all fuel sold in the UK must contain a certain percentage of biofuel - about 5% at the moment. These fuels still conform to British Standards in the same way as your usual diesel or petrol and manufacturers have approved them for use in any car.

You can increase the amount of biofuel you use instead of oil derived fuels but this may not be supported by your manufacturer. Should you choose to do so, you may find your car's warranty is invalid if any issues arise.

You can buy 100% biodiesel but this requires a mechanical commitment, as most cars will need to be modified to accept it. A blend of oil based and biodiesel is more practical for most car owners and can be found at some garages. The name of the fuel will often indicate the percentage of regular and biofuel - in the case of B30, the mix is 30% biodiesel to 70% standard diesel.

Bioethanol as a petrol substitute is not yet widely available in the UK. Should you find a garage supplying a mixture, it will be named in the same way - for example, E30 for 30% ethanol with 70% standard petrol.


LPG stands for Liquefied Petroleum Gas, which can be used in petrol cars. You will need a conversion kit before you can fill up with LPG and will need a separate gas tank for the fuel. You usually use LPG alongside rather than instead of petrol.

LPG is sometimes offered as the answer to Britain's emissions problems. It looks tempting because it costs less than petrol but fuel consumption is also poorer. However, converting to LPG can save you money depending on how you use your car. It is important to remember that the reason LPG is so cheap is because the government has agreed to impose far less fuel duty than it does on petrol, but if LPG duty increases, you could find that it is no longer cost effective.

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