Is E10 Ok for your car? Should you use it even if you can?

What exactly is E10 fuel and how is it different to other fuel types you find at any petrol station across Australia? We look into E10 fuel and weigh up the pros and cons of it. Plus, you can find out if your car model is compatible to use E10 fuel.

Article contents:

  • What is E10 fuel?
  • How does E10 impact the environment?
  • Is R10 ok to use in any car?
  • What happens if E10 is used in an incompatible vehicle?

Firstly, what is E10 fuel and why has it been considered a controversial topic for so long?

“E10 fuel is a blend of up to 10% ethanol and 90% unleaded petrol. Premium E10 is a similar blend of ethanol and premium unleaded fuel.” E10 OK, Queensland Government Website.

If you’re like most people, this means absolutely nothing to you. Pretty much, E10 is considered a renewal energy source as it’s normally made from grain and molasses, and in some cases, corn or beets. However, as Australian car manufacturers weren’t focusing on E10-compatible motors until recent years, it wasn’t something always possible for us to use.

But how many people can now? Should you use E10 even if you can? Keep reading to find out.

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Three fuel pumps at petrol station

Is E10 ok to use in any car?

Ethanol-blended fuel didn’t have the best wrap when it first became available in Australia. There were reports of damage in certain models of car engines, however, this was determined to be due to the higher percentage of ethanol in the petrol. This led to the federal government capping the level of ethanol to 10%, hence the E10 name.

While international car manufacturing led to the demise of our own Australian factories, it did lead to E10 fuel being more compatible with more cars on our roads. Various state governments advise cars built after 1986 to 2000 are normally ok to be filled up with E10. BUT STOP!

Before you do this to save a few dollars, check your car’s user manual and run your registration through the compatibility checker if you’re in Queensland or New South Wales (see below). Better still, talk to your local mechanic who regularly services and repairs your vehicle.

Black car at petrol station

Why should I or should not use E10 fuel?

Benefits of using E10 fuel:

  • Lower cost. E10 fuel tends to be cheaper than any other fuel type at the bowser (although the ABC reports this may not be the case).
  • E10 contains water. This can cause issues and corrosion if it builds up, which is always a possibility. Again, talk to your mechanic.
  • Reduced performance. Without all the jargon of octane and fuel mixes, E10 fuel will reduce your car’s performance.

Cons of using E10 fuel:

  • Lower mileage. While E10 is generally cheaper, you need more of it to get around.
  • It’s ‘better’ for the environment. E10 is a renewable energy source, are less reactive than regular unleaded petrol and have less impact on general health (E10 Fuel for Thought).
Person driving car with steering wheel

What do you do if you put E10 in a car that isn’t compatible?

Putting E10 fuel in a non-compatible car can lead to pretty serious damage, including corroded components, which in turn can contaminate fuel ( If you do realise you’ve put E10 fuel in a non-compatible car, it’s best to call your mechanic. They’ll be able to advise what you need to do and whether to bring it in to get all the fuel components checked over.

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      Sarah Russo

      UX Content Writer

      Sarah Russo is a UX Content Writer at Localsearch with a decade of experience in traditional and digital marketing. She has written for and assisted in the social media and marketing strategies for many different industries, including real estate, medical, health and fitness, trades and beauty. When she isn’t nose deep in data, SEO research or her content strategy, Sarah is a gym junkie, foodie and gamer with a brain full of random facts that come in handy far more often than you would think. As a digital marketing all-rounder and lifestyle specialist, her articles provide insight into marketing, advertising and branding for small businesses on the Localsearch Business Blog, as well as some handy lifestyle tips on the Localsearch Blog.