Unleaded petrol now to remain past 2012

Update from October 2012: The NSW State Government has changed the E10 requirements again. The phase-out of straight unleaded petrol (ULP) has been abandoned but the mandate that fuel suppliers must sell 6% of their total petrol sales as ethanol has been retained. Therefore you may continue to see ULP in service stations, although reports to NRMA indicate that it is hard to find. A reminder also that E85 is available at a limited number of servos – you must not use this fuel unless your vehicle is suitable for it, for instance all current model Holden Commodores, the Saab Biopower models and a limited number of current Chrysler models.

The NSW Government recently announced that it was abandoning the phase-out of standard unleaded petrol (ULP) from 30 June 2012. This means that ULP may remain available well after 2012. However, in many areas, particularly in and around Sydney, straight unleaded petrol (ULP) is now difficult to find, so vehicle owners may wish to switch to E10.

Before using E10, vehicle owners must check if an ethanol blend is suitable for their vehicle – this information can be found in the owner’s manual, by contacting NRMA Motoring Advice (call 13 11 22) and on the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries website.

For cars that cannot use E10, premium-grade unleaded petrol without ethanol will continue to be available.

Our May 2010 blog post about unleaded petrol contained several comments that owners found their vehicle had much higher fuel consumption when using E10 compared with ULP. If your vehicle is in good condition you should not experience much more than the theoretical 3% increase in fuel consumption.

However, if you try E10 and experience an unusually high impact on fuel consumption, here are some possible causes and things you can do about them:

  • Was there water in your fuel tank from earlier contaminated petrol? If so, the E10 will take the water into solution and your car may run roughly until the first tank of E10 is used up.
  • Is your fuel filter clogged? Ethanol is a powerful solvent and may loosen residues in your fuel system. Try changing the fuel filter after the first couple of tanks of E10.
  • Is your ignition system in good condition? A slightly misfiring spark plug may be exacerbated by E10 leading to a severe misfire and increase in fuel consumption. If you feel your vehicle is running roughly, have your vehicle serviced if it has not been done recently.
  • Is there an engine check or warning light showing on your dash? Your engine management system and fuel injection system need to be in good condition. Modern vehicles are designed to monitor oxygen in the exhaust and should be able to adjust to E10. However a malfunctioning oxygen sensor or other component may mean that your vehicle is not achieving this. Have your vehicle serviced if it has not been done recently.

Does the extension of the phase-out date of ULP help you?

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This entry was posted in E10, Fuels, Regular Unleaded Petrol by Jack @ NRMA. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jack @ NRMA

Jack is the NRMA’s advocate and champion for vehicle technical and environmental issues. He has been with NRMA for 24 years and previous to that worked for a vehicle manufacturer and ran an emissions laboratory. He analyses new technologies, suggests any testing required and manages the NRMA’s involvement in national programs such as ANCAP, the high speed crash test program that provides safety ratings for purchasers of new vehicles; the Used Car Safety Ratings, that provide similar ratings for used cars; the Child Restraint Evaluation Program, to rate child restraints; and the Consumer Rating and Assessment of Safety Helmets (CRASH) to rate motorcycle helmets. Jack also presents NRMA policy and test results from these programs in the media, so you may see him on TV or hear him on the radio.

5 thoughts on “Unleaded petrol now to remain past 2012

  1. Doesnt bother me, i changed to E10 only for 7 months now on my 1994 Falcon ef and i love it. As long as less money goes to the Middle East Oil giants i am very happy. All Australians should use it if their vehicle allows them to. I dont believe in Global warming as being caused by us, but removing ourselfs 10% less from the middle east is the main reason i changed.

  2. What is the current situation with regard to 91 octane ULP?
    We have two cars, a 1994 Nissan Patrol 4.2 litre and a 1998 Toyota Camry 2.4 litre. My investigations suggest that both thes cannot use E10.
    Up to now we have been buying from Woolworth’s Caltex in Goulburn NSW, but the have discontinued ULP91, offering only 95 or 98 octane. Their 95 octane is over 10 cents dearer than ULP91. When I asked the attendant he stated that the deadline still applies for all companies with more than 10 outlets, and that there are only two outlets in Goulburn, both of which will stop selling ULP91 by the end of the month.
    If this is the case, I am very annoyed. It is fine for people who can afford to buy new cars, but as pensioners we just cannot afford to do that, due to the rising cost of living.
    This seems to be a very unfair and unnecessary burden on people like us.

    Don Riley

    • I totally agree with Mr Don Riley. As the owner of a 1987 AT Ford Telstar GL, that cannot take E10 either, I also object to paying higher fuel prices. I agree that this higher price seems a penalty, not only to pensioners, but anyone that has a well maintained older vehicle & does NOT want to, nor can afford to, replace it.
      If Barry O’Farrell has reversed the stance on unleaded petrol, then when do we get it back & will it be available from all the previous places in Goulburn or will the rural community suffer yet again?

      Natalie Jeffrey

  3. my 2011 honda motorcycle is listed as – not -
    suitable for ethanol.. honda recommends 91RON
    petrol, but both local suppliers have shut down,
    cant find 91RON no ethanol petrol anywhere nearby..

    this is a recently designed honda engine
    which i am now forced to fill with higher octane
    petrol, to avoid this harmful contaminant
    being forced on us by govt..

    this will do nothing effective to change our
    relative oil dependency.. next techno change
    is to electric.. honda already has electric bikes
    incl used by usa police forces etc..

    this is a govt handout to certain interest groups..
    ethanol wastes fuel, lowering horsepower thus
    needing more petrol for hills etc resulting in lower,
    fuel economy, increased servicing due to corrosion
    of fuel lines etc, increased water in fuel [one reason
    ethanol is not allowed to be used in marine and
    aviation engines, on the basis of damage to them
    thus potential tragedies from engine failures]..

    however this farce is packaged as ‘environmentally’
    better etc, merely demonstrates the intention to
    mislead consumers as to the realities..

    this is a disgrace..

  4. ULP 91 is to be gradually phased out before the 1St quarter of 2017. This will now leave ULP 95 , ULP 95 E10 , ULP 98 & DIESEL & LPG. The phasing out of 91 RON fuel is being carried out to meet new pollution regs in Australia that will come in line with Europe, as it phased out regular ULP about 15 yrs ago. It’s expected that premium ULP will be around the same price as now or slightly higher, & diesel should remain substantially cheaper.

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