Official E5 petrol and B7 diesel fuel pump labels introduced on UK forecourts

DfT starts rollout of E5 and B7 labels indicating ethanol and biofuel content of petrol and diesel. Signs will be mandatory by 1 September

The Department for Transport (DfT) is rolling out a new set of labels for petrol and diesel pumps at filling stations across the UK, with unleaded petrol to be renamed E5, and diesel labelled as B7. E10 petrol is likely to follow at a later date. 

The names relate to the percentage of ethanol and biofuel present in petrol and diesel respectively, and are intended to make motorists “think more carefully about the environmental impacts of their journeys” and “educate drivers on the benefits of biofuels.” The majority of unleaded sold in the UK must contain up to five per cent ethanol under the Government’s Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation, though no such requirements are in place for super-unleaded.

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The new labels are being rolled out immediately, and garages will be legally required to display them by September 2019. As well as the mandated E5 label, petrol stations will have to clearly show the biofuel content of the diesel fuel being sold, with diesel comprised of seven per cent biofuel clearly labelled as ‘B7’.

Biofuels are typically comprised of a blend of oil and plant or animal fat fuel, with the UK’s biodiesel comprised of oilseed rape, sugar beet and wheat. Figures from 2016 show 132,000 hectares of land in the UK was used to grow crops for bioenergy.

The move towards E5 and B7 labels is likely to herald the arrival of E10 petrol, which contains up to 10 per cent bioethanol and is claimed to bring about a two per cent reduction in CO2. The Government launched a consultation into E10 petrol in 2018, but motoring organisations have warned as many as 800,000 cars can’t use E10, and a second response to the consultation is due later this year. 

Commenting on the new labels, Transport Minister Michael Ellis said: “Biofuels are a key way of achieving the emissions reductions the UK needs, and their use reduced CO2 emissions by 2.7 million tonnes last year alone – the equivalent of taking around 1.2 million cars off the road.”

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