Our recent tour to Ireland has raised a serious concern regarding fuel availability in the EU for Veteran, Vintage, Classics and some cars built up to the early 2000s.
Many of you will know that E5 (98/99 Octane fuel with 5% ethanol) is currently being phased out in the EU and will continue to be less and less available.
Although the roll out of this crazy policy was due to start rolling out in Ireland in July, E5 fuel is now no longer available in Ireland – at all. Only diesel and 95 Octane E10 are sold, and a 99 Octane E10 is available in densely populated areas, but it is seriously hit and miss. Surprisingly, there has been little publicity, warnings, or knowledge among the locals and Ireland’s AA has assured people with Classics that their cars ‘should’ be fine on E10, when all experts say they won’t be!
In almost all motorway filling stations in France, E5 is no longer available, but it is available in most rural areas.
Where E5 is no longer available, a high octane E10 grade called Super Plus is often available. Please note whist Super Plus carries the correct octane rating, it still has 10% Ethanol content, which is no good for the cars described above, as the corrosive effects of the low lead, high ethanol content remain.
For France, there is a website (in French only) that lists every fuel station and which grades of fuel they carry. If you require E5 you can select that grade and it’ll show where the nearest fuel station is. You can visit this site here – https://www.prix-carburants.gouv.fr/
In Ireland, those travelling with classic or vintage cars will face significant trouble if you are not prepared. We struggled to find octane booster and ethanol protector, as they were scarcely available, despite the AA Ireland saying they are widely available. Therefore, we urge all visitors to Ireland with vehicles unable to run on E10 fuel to bring the necessary additives with them.
Please note that if your car is not E10 complaint, the advice is to carry with you in the car, at all times, a good quality Octane Booster product, such as Millers VSPe Power Plus or similar – this is a combination of an Octane Booster and an Ethanol Protector. This means you can fill up with E10 95 octane, and then add the additive. In the event you can buy E10 Super Plus, you will still need an Ethanol Protector product such as Millers EPS Ethanol Protection System Fuel Additive Treatment Additive, which is endorsed by the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs. (This is not an advert for Millers!)
Experts agree that where there is no option, filling up with a tank of 95 octane E10 will not cause damage in isolation but you need to refuel with E5 as soon as possible or use an additive on the next fill.
You should consider upgrading your fuel system to be able to handle E10, which includes compatible fuel lines and carburettor components, but this will not counter the effects the high ethanol has on the engine, so you will still need to run an ethanol protector additive, especially if your car stands for long periods of time.