The Motor Fuel (Composition and Content) and the Biofuel (Labelling) (Amendment) Regulations 2021

Jurisdiction: UK (The Biofuel (Labelling) Regulations 2004) and GB (The Motor Fuel (Composition and Content) Regulations 1999)

Commencement: 19 March 2021 for the majority. However, some regulations come into force on 1 September 2021.

Amends: The Biofuel (Labelling) Regulations 2004 (UK) and The Motor Fuel (Composition and Content) Regulations 1999 (GB)


The Biofuel (Labelling) Regulations 2004 (UK)

Amendment: The sale of E10 grade petrol (petrol containing an ethanol content over 5.5%) must be accompanied by the following consumer message, prominently displayed on the fuel’s dispenser:

  • “Suitable for most petrol vehicles: check before use”.

This requirement is introduced as, while E10 grade petrol is useable by most modern petrol powered vehicles, some older vehicles are not approved for its use.


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The Motor Fuel (Composition and Content) Regulations 1999

Amendment: From 1st September 2021, petrol stations in Great Britain are required to only sell 95 octane premium petrol that meets an E10 grade specification. An E10 grade means that the petrol contains an ethanol content of between 5.5% and 10%. The requirements are being introduced as no major supplier has unilaterally chosen to make the move to E10 grade fuel despite it being approved for sale since 2011. The use of E10 grade fuel is seen as a tool to help meet climate change targets as petrol with higher ethanol content produces less overall carbon dioxide emissions.

While E10 grade petrol is useable by most modern petrol powered vehicles, some older vehicles are not approved for its use. Requirements are therefore introduced for super grade higher octane petrol to remain at an E5 grade, meaning it can have no more than 5% ethanol or 2.7% oxygen.


Where there is a shortage of E10 grade petrol due to an issue with a refinery or blending facility (a facility that adds ethanol to the petrol), distribution of 95 octane premium petrol fuel with an ethanol content below 5.5% may take place. Notice must be submitted to the Secretary of State within two days and the exemption lasts for 10 days from the issue occurring. Extensions to this exemption can be granted by the Secretary of State. A person must not operate under this exemption any more than 3 times in a 12-month period.

Fuel terminals that are currently unable to blend any ethanol into their petrol products can apply for an exemption from the requirement to meet the E10 grade. This exemption, if granted, will apply for 2 years.

Exemptions to the E10 grade requirements are also granted to filling stations that sell under 1 million litres of fuel per year, and to those located in the Scottish Islands and the Scilly Isles.


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