Can my vehicle operate on Ethanol blend petrol?

The Australian Government has limited the level of ethanol in petrol in Australia to a maximum of 10%, or E10. Most new and many older vehicle models can run on ethanol blended petrol. Vehicle manufacturers and importers have provided the following information on the capability of their vehicles to operate on ethanol fuel blends up to a maximum of 10% ethanol, subject to the fuel meeting the octane requirements for the vehicle and complying with relevant mandatory Australian fuel quality standards and particularly proper blending of the ethanol into the petrol. To avoid operational issues, vehicles should be maintained in accordance with manufacturer’s servicing procedures using genuine replacement parts. This will ensure that the fuel systems of vehicles listed as suitable to use either E5 or E10 blended petrol continue to be ethanol tolerant. The information below provides technical reasons why some models cannot use ethanol blended petrol.

For more information about national fuel quality standards or about national labelling requirements for ethanol blends, please visit Department of the Environment and Heritage or Department of Industry, Tourism & Resources.

REASONS WHY E10 IS NOT RECOMMENDED FOR SOME CURRENT MODELS

The Australian Design Rules (ADRs) are harmonised with international standards as specified in the UN ECE Regulations. The same requirements apply throughout the European Union. New vehicles certified to these standards will increasingly use advanced emission control technologies that strictly control the engine’s operating parameters and have therefore more stringent fuel quality requirements.

The maximum level of ethanol blended petrol in Europe is E5.

Depending on what markets certain models are sold in, Australian vehicles may be built to either a European specification (E5 compatible) or some other specification that is E10 compatible. This is the reason recommendations regarding E10 suitability will differ from one manufacturer to another.

The use of E10 petrol in vehicles that are E5 compatible may also result in material compatibility problems in the fuel system.

VEHICLE MODEL SUITABILITY FOR E5 OR E10 USE

The following table lists vehicle models suitability to run on E5 or E10 ethanol blended petrol. Before use of E5 or E10 in motor vehicles not listed below or if you are unsure, you should consult your handbook or manufacturer to check if the fuel is suitable.

MOTOR VEHICLES

 

 

E5 Suitable

E10 Suitable

BRAND

MODEL

Yes

No

Yes

No

Alfa Romeo

All models post 1998

 

 

x

Alfa Romeo

All models pre 1998

 

x

 

x

Audi

Audi A3 1.8L (Engine Code 'APG' 2000 onwards)

and A4 2.0L (Engine Code 'ALT' 2001 onwards)

 

 

x

 

x

Audi

All models post 1986 except above

 

 

Bentley

All models post 1990

 

 

BMW

All models post 1986

 

 

Citroen

All models post 1998

 

 

Chrysler

All models post 1986

 

 

Daihatsu

Charade (September 2004 onwards); Terios (September 2004 onwards); Copen (October 2004 onwards); Sirion (November 2004 onwards)

 

 

DodgeAll models post 1986

Fiat

Punto

 

 

x

Ford

Focus (2002 - 2004), F-series (1986-1992), Ka (All), Maverick (All), Transit (1996 - 2004)

 

 

x

Ford

Mondeo (prior to 2007)

x

Ford

Capri (All), Courier 2.0L & 2.6L (All), Econovan (pre-2002), Festiva (All), Laser 1.3L, 1.5L & 1.6L (All), Raider (All), Telstar (All)

 

x

 

x

Ford

All models post 1986 except above

 

 

GMDaewoo

All models

 

x

 

x

Holden

Apollo (1/87-7/89), Nova (2/89-7/94), Barina (1985-1994), Drover (1985-1987), Scurry (1985-1986), Astra (1984-1989)

 

x

 

x

Holden

Astra SRi 2.2L (11/2006 onwards); Astra 2.2L Twin Top Convertible (11/2006 onwards)

 

 

x

Holden

All models post 1986 except above

 

 

Honda

Insight - 2004 onwards; Civic range (including Civic Hybrid) - 2004 onwards; S2000 - 2004 onwards; CRV - 2003 onwards; MD-X - 2003 onwards; Accord & Accord Euro - 2003 onwards; Integra – 2002 onwards; Odyssey – 2004 onwards; Jazz – 2004 onwards; Legend – 2006 onwards

 

 

Hyundai

All models post October 2003

 

 

Jaguar

All models post 1986

 

 

JeepAll models post 1986

Kia

All models post 1996

 

 

Land Rover

All models post 1986

 

 

Lexus

IS200 pre May 2002

 

 

x

Lexus

All models post 1986 except above

 

 

Lotus

Elan (1989-1991); Esprit (4 cyl – 1987-1999); Elise (Rover engine – 1996-2004); 340R; Exige (Rover engine – 2001, 2002 & 2004); Europa (2006 onwards)

 

x

 

x

Lotus

Esprit (V8 – 1998-2004); Exige (Toyota engine – 2004 onwards); Elise (Toyota engine – 2004 onwards)

 

 

Mazda

Mazda2 - May 2005 build onwards, Mazda3, Mazda6, RX-8, MX-5 – July 2005 build onwards, Tribute - April 2006 onwards, CX-7, CX-9

 

 

Mazda

All models except above

 

x

 

x

Mercedes-Benz

All models post 1986

 

 

MG

All models

 

 

x

MINI

All models

 

 

Mitsubishi

All fuel injected models post 1986

 

 

Nissan

All models post 2004

 

 

Peugeot

306 (XU engine only)

 

x

 

x

Peugeot

All models post July 1997 except above

 

 

Porsche

All models pre MY2007

 

 

x

Porsche

All models from MY2007

 

 

Proton

All models

 

 

Rover

All models

 

 

x

Renault

All models post 2001

 

 

x

Rolls Royce

All models between 1990 and 2002

 

 

Saab

All models post 1986

 

 

Ssangyong

Rexton, Stavic & Chairman models with 3.2 litre petrol engine

 

 

Subaru

All Subaru (before 1990)

Subaru Liberty B4 (2002 to 2003)

Subaru Liberty GT (2004 - 2006)

Impreza WRX STI (1999 to 2005)

 

x

 

x

Subaru

All models post MY1990 except above provided the model-specific minimum octane rating is maintained

 

 

Suzuki

Alto, Mighty Boy, Wagon R+, Swift/Cino, Sierra, Stockman, Vitara, X-90, Jimny (SOHC), Super Carry, Suzuki Baleno and Baleno GTX

 

x

 

x

Suzuki

All models except above (providing RON requirements are met)

 

 

Toyota

Camry with carburettor engines pre July 1989 and Corolla pre July 1994; Supra - pre May 1993, Cressida - pre Feb 1993, Paseo - pre Aug 1995, Starlet - pre July 1999, Land Cruiser - pre Aug 1992, Coaster - pre Jan 1993, Dyna - pre May 1995, Tarago - pre Oct 1996, Hilux , Hiace, & 4 Runner - pre Aug 1997, Townace - pre Dec 1998

 

x

 

x

Toyota

All models except above

 

 

Volkswagen

All fuel injected models post 1986

 

 

Volvo

All models post 1986

 

 

MOTORCYCLES

 

 

E5 Suitable

E10 Suitable

BRAND

MODEL

Yes

No

Yes

No

BMW

All motorcycles post 1986

 

 

Buell

All motorcycles

 

 

Harley Davidson

All motorcycles post 1986

 

 

Honda

All motorcycles and All Terrain Vehicles

 

x

 

x

Kawasaki

All motorcycles and All Terrain Vehicles

 

x

 

x

Piaggio

All motorcycles

 

x

 

x

Polaris

All motorcycles

 

 

Suzuki

All motorcycles and All Terrain Vehicles

 

x

 

x

VictoryAll motorcycles

 

Yamaha

All motorcycle and All Terrain Vehicles

 

x

 

x

REASONS WHY ETHANOL BLENDED PETROL IS NOT RECOMMENDED FOR USE IN SOME OLDER VEHICLES

Introduction

The following information outlines the key reasons why vehicle manufacturers do not recommend the use of any ethanol/petrol blended fuels in vehicles made before 1986. This information is also applicable to post-1986 vehicles listed as unsuitable to use ethanol blended petrol.

Ethanol has a number of important chemical and physical properties that need to be considered in a vehicle's design.

Carburettor Equipped Engines

Vehicles made before 1986 vehicles were predominantly equipped with carburettors and steel fuel tanks.

The use of ethanol blended petrol in engines impacts the air/fuel ratio because of the additional oxygen molecules within the ethanol's chemical structure.

Vehicles with carburettor fuel systems may experience hot fuel handling concerns. This is because the vapour pressure of fuel with ethanol will be greater (if the base fuel is not chemically adjusted) and probability of vapour lock or hot restartability problems will be increased.

As a solvent, ethanol attacks both the metallic and rubber based fuels lines, and other fuel system components.

Ethanol also has an affinity to water that can result in corrosion of fuel tanks and fuel lines. Rust resulting from this corrosion can ultimately block the fuel supply rendering the engine inoperable. Water in the fuel system can also result in the engine hesitating and running roughly.

Fuel Injected Engines

In addition to the issues mentioned above for carburettor equipped engines, the use of ethanol blended petrol in fuel injection systems will result in early deterioration of components such as injector seals, delivery pipes, and fuel pump and regulator.

Mechanical fuel injection systems and earlier electronic systems may not be able to fully compensate for the lean-out effect of ethanol blended petrol, resulting in hesitation or flat-spots during acceleration.

Difficulty in starting and engine hesitation after cold start can also result.

Exhaust And Evaporative Emission Levels

Lean-out resulting from the oxygenating effect of ethanol in the fuel may affect exhaust emissions.

Of more concern is that fuel containing ethanol can increase permeation emissions from fuel system components, particularly those that have aged for nearly 20 years. Therefore the increased vapour pressure of fuel with ethanol (if the base fuel is not chemically adjusted at the refining stage) will lead to increased evaporative emissions.