new labels on petrol and diesel fuel station pumps and nozzles

Same fuel - new label

New labels are set to appear on all petrol and diesel pumps by 1 September 2019 but the fuel you use is exactly the same

New labels are starting to appear on petrol and diesel pumps and nozzles across the country as well as near the fuel filler cap on new cars.

All pumps must have the new label on them by the beginning of September 2019.

The most important thing to understand is that the actual petrol and diesel fuel is exactly the same as before, and filling stations are likely to continue calling these fuels ‘petrol’ and ‘diesel’ alongside the new labels.

  • Petrol pumps and nozzles will be labelled E5 in a circle
  • Diesel pumps and nozzles will be labelled B7 in a square

Know your fuel - new label but the same fuel

What do the numbers and letters mean?

Partly replacing fossil fuels like petrol and diesel with fuels made from renewable sources like ethanol and biodiesel helps reduce overall CO2 emissions which in turn helps the UK meet its climate change targets.

Fuel quality standards have allowed a small percentage of renewable fuel to be blended into UK petrol and diesel for more than 10 years – up to 5% ethanol in petrol and up to 7% biodiesel in diesel.

So the labels use symbols for the type of fuel together with letters and numbers to tell you the maximum percentage of the relevant renewable fuel that it contains.

  • Circle means petrol
  • Square means diesel
  • E5 means up to 5% ethanol
  • B7 means up to 7% biodiesel

In the future we may see fuels blended with higher renewable content such as ‘E10’ petrol containing up to 10% renewable ethanol. These are already widely available in Europe but aren’t suitable for all vehicles so, when these fuels become available, the new labels will help you choose the right fuel for your vehicle.

The same labels will be on fuel pumps and nozzles across Europe, so they should help reduce the risk of misfuelling when you’re driving abroad.

Labels on vehicles

All new cars will have similar labels close to the fuel filler cap though these may refer to higher blends of renewable fuels – you can safely use any blend up to the number (percentage) shown on the vehicle label.

  • All vehicles with an E10 label can use E5 petrol

Some diesel vehicles have a label saying ‘no biodiesel’ but these were introduced before this new fuel labelling requirement and were aimed at stopping drivers filling with much higher blends of biodiesel or even 100% biodiesel. 

  • B7 diesel can be used in all diesel cars

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