Lifestyle

Drivers avoiding E-10 fuel amid engine damage fears

NO DEMAND: Owner of South Grafton Liberty service station Robert Cook has stopped selling E10. Photo: Adam Hourigan
NO DEMAND: Owner of South Grafton Liberty service station Robert Cook has stopped selling E10. Photo: Adam Hourigan

CONCERNS about fuel efficiency and potential engine damage are driving Clarence Valley residents to avoid E10 at the petrol pump, prompting a call from NRMA for better education.

The aversion to the ethanol-blended product has resulted in at least one local petrol station owner discontinuing the sale of the ethanol-based fuel.

The NSW Government actively advocates the use of E10 fuel, which can be made in Australia, and in 2011 a mandate was set that required 6% of the total volume of petrol sold in NSW to contain ethanol.

A recent international study by the Texas Tech University showed that while switching to E10 had reduced the availability of regular unleaded, it didn't seem to increase its popularity.

Owner of South Grafton's Liberty service station Robert Cook said his petrol station stopped selling E10 unleaded about a year ago after sales failed to take off in the area.

"It never picked up in volume, so we decided we could better use those tanks to stock ordinary leaded," he said.

"I think the fact that it is cheaper is the reason why some people used it. No one used it because they thought it was doing the world any good."

Junction Hill's Caltex petrol station doesn't stock E10 either.

Owner Michael Fishburn said Caltex decided not to make the switch once the government dropped its policy to make all regular unleaded petrol E10.

"It's two cents cheaper but... you get a better economy with unleaded - I think a lot of customers have figured it out too."

Mr Fishburn said, ultimately, premium fuel was the best purchase.

"Given the choice, I would stay with unleaded," he said.

"(E10) does not agree with small engines and with vehicles that sit for a while. The ethanol and petrol separate over time, which isn't good for the engine," he said.

"Although for someone who's using their car every day, it's probably fine."

NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury said the motoring body supported the E10 mandate to encourage the take-up of locally grown alternative fuels.

"We need to do more to reduce our dependence on imported oil," he said.

"Every time prices fluctuate and go up, what sort of impact imported oil is having on the family budget? And we don't want our members having to pay more for petrol if they don't have to."

Mr Khoury said an aggressive education campaign was needed to make the public more aware of whether their cars could run on E10 fuel.

"One of the concerns we have is a lot of people think they are getting extra performance from higher grade fuels and spending extra money, when in actual fact the performance benefits are limited," he said.

"Most vehicles built after '96 can run on E10 unless otherwise specified.

"If you're worried about it you can contact the manufacturer and they can tell you."

What is ethanol?

According to the Biofuels Association of Australia, bioethanol - or simply 'ethanol' - is an alcohol made by fermenting the sugar and starch components of plant materials by using yeast.

Ethanol can be used as a fuel for vehicles in its pure form as a replacement for gasoline, but is usually blended with gasoline so as to improve vehicle emissions.

Topics:  e10, ethanol, fuel, nrma, petrol




Our most complained-about businesses

Who has made NSW's first business complaints register?

It's the book we've all been waiting for

CONFESSIONS; Troy Cassar Daley tells his story in his first book Things I Carry Around.

Grafton's favourite son telling it like it is

All dressed up for the party

FLASHBACK: Tucabia Public School students Claudiah Wainwright, Dylan Stewart, Leo Nicholls, Lachlan Chellew, Emelia Herr and Marcia Nicholls got dressed up to celebrate their school's upcoming 125th birthday.

Students and staff get into spirit of their 125th anniversary

Latest deals and offers

Doco reveals real story behind Black Hawk Down

Former Black Hawk pilot Mike Durant shares his story, which helped to inspire the movie Black Hawk Down, in the TV series No Man Left Behind.

FORMER pilot recounts ordeal which inspired a Hollywood movie.

What's on the big screen this week

Toby Kebbell and Jack Huston in a scene from the movie Ben-Hur.

AN OLD classic returns to the big screen with a new young star.

Bachelor Richie gives bacon-loving Noni the boot

Noni Janur features on this season of The Bachelor.

TOOWOOMBA swimwear designer still single but focusing on her career.

It's the book we've all been waiting for

CONFESSIONS; Troy Cassar Daley tells his story in his first book Things I Carry Around.

Grafton's favourite son telling it like it is

Zumbo's Just Desserts serves up magical dishes

Gigi Falanga, left, joins hosts Adriano Zumbo and Rachel Khoo on the TV series Zumbo's Just Desserts.

ADRIANO Zumbo’s decadent creations have become prime-time viewing.

Sir Cliff Richard feels 'best' after sex abuse allegations

Sir Cliff Richard is 'back' to his best after sex abuse claims

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m

Guess which Sunshine Coast suburb cracked the million dollar list?

This four-bedroom home at 26 McAnally Dr, Sunshine Beach was for sale for $7 million.

List of Australia's five most-expensive suburbs

Does it get any better than this? Check out this $2M home

LUXURY LIVING: The Coral Cove home built by Steve Coates Constructions that took out the best home over $2 million and the Wide Bay Burnett House of the Year at the Master Builders Wide Bay Burnett Housing and Construction Awards.

Wide Bay's best home is right on our doorstep