Petrol station attendant Maria Bulter fills up a car with ethanol-based E10 fuel at the Liberty service station in North Lismore.
Petrol station attendant Maria Bulter fills up a car with ethanol-based E10 fuel at the Liberty service station in North Lismore. JERAD WILLIAMS

Standard unleaded on the way out

WHILE some petrol stations on the Northern Rivers have already stopped selling standar dunleaded fuel, motorists are reminded the full phase-out will not occur until July 1 next year.

Maria Butler, who works at the independent Liberty petrol station in Terania Street, North Lismore, said they would keep their standard unleaded as long as they could.

“We only have three tanks here so we currently only sell standard unleaded, E10 and diesel fuels,” she said.

“After the phase-out of standard unleaded fuel we’ll probably replace it with the high octane.”

Many of the larger fuel companies could not provide a date for the transition to E10 at individual petrol stations on the Northern Rivers as most were making the change on a rolling basis across NSW.

This could mean some outlets make the switch much earlier than July 2011.

The NSW Government has mandated that any unleaded petrol supplied after January 1 next year will have to contain a minimum of six per cent ethanol ahead of the July deadline.

An NRMA spokesman said that by and large most vehicles would run fine with E10, but if in doubt he recommended motorists check with their vehicle’s manufacturer.

“Generally it is okay for vehicles made after 1986, unless the manufacturer tells you to use high octane,” he said.

Vehicles made before 1986 will require high octane petrol, as will those made after 1986 that are not suitable for E10 fuel.

The State Government has said the changeover is to promote renewable biofuels in New South Wales, despite E10 being less efficient than regular unleaded fuel.

E10 is up to three per cent less efficient than standard unleaded because it holds less energy than petrol, despite having a higher octane.

Ethanol is an alcohol produced by fermenting sugar, grain or other plant matter using yeasts.

All solids and water are removed, leaving pure ethanol.

The solid matter left after fermenting grains can be used as stock food and the water can be recycled.

Most of the ethanol produced in NSW is made from the waste starch left over after processing flour to produce gluten and industrial starch.

The Government has defended the move, citing declining international oil supplies.

“Acting now to develop our local biofuels industry will help to make sure that we have affordable fuel supplies available in the future for all motorists,” a spokesman said.

From January 1, 2011, regular grade unleaded petrol (ULP) must contain at least 6pc ethanol.

From July 1, 2011, regular grade unleaded petrol (ULP) will be fully replaced by E10.

Most cars manufactured for regular unleaded petrol (ULP) after 1986 should handle E10.

Vehicles made before 1986, and those after 1986 not suitable for E10, should use high octane fuel. If in doubt check with your vehicle manufacturer.

Most vehicles running on E10 will experience an increase in fuel consumption of between 1pc to 3pc.



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