Multiple car breakdowns in Sydney renew suspicions that E10 fuel is ruining our cars 101



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It’s a driver’s worst nightmare: filling up with the wrong fuel and waiting for your car to spectacularly fail as you drive out of the petrol station. Only replace wrong fuel with right fuel and you’ve got a catastrophe.

This was the scene in Sydney this morning as up to 20 cars stalled on the highway, causing delays. No, this wasn’t some sort of eerie coincidence – all of the cars had just filled up with E10 fuel at the Caltex Petrol station on the M4 in Eastern Creek. The culprit? Too much water in the fuel.

This comes as no true surprise to savvy consumers who’ve steered clear of the watered down ethanol alternative. It is a sad truth that in a world where we need renewable options and could all be driving electric cars right now, even the closest thing to being eco is a flop.

Caltex spokesman Sam Collyer said they were sorry for the “rare” event that had inconvenienced their customers and other motorists.

He said the company was certain only the E10 product was contaminated.

“We quickly shut down the pumps for that product so no other customers will be affected. Our technical team is on its way to investigate what has caused this issue.

“Any customers with any problems should hold onto their receipt and call our customer team on 1800 240 398. They will be open from 8.30am this morning”, he said.

Caltex will provide financial assistance to customers whose cars are no doubt stuffed.

“What it does is it shuts down the engine and there is nothing that can be done to fix it on the side of the road. We have to tow the vehicles into mechanics”, Mr Collyer said about the mishap.

“It’s a pretty big job to clean it. So they have to drain the fuel tank and sometimes that means they have to literally take the fuel tank out of the vehicle to drain it.

But this isn’t the first time this has happened this year alone: only a couple of months ago in May, over 30 motorists were stranded after filling up with E10 at a Coffs Harbour servo.

According to a report by the Coffs Harbour Advocate, mechanics working on the affected cars had extracted a “75%-25%” liquid ratio of fuel to water. That is quite shocking considering ethanol fuel is supposed to comprise of only 10 per cent ‘water’.

There are multiple articles on the subject going right back to 2003, when the blend was introduced in Australia, advising not to use the perceived ‘eco’ alternative.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that that even 10 percent ethanol-blended petrol produces lower mileage per litre, and gradually destroys engines over time. Ethanol-laced gasoline has also been shown to produce more pollutants than pure fuel, which is a complete contradiction to the claims made by the pro-ethanol industry for why adding it to is beneficial.


So there you have it. Do you think that E10 is a colossal waste of money, or have you seen some benefits?

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  1. Bit of a worry…. Not enough to say keep your receipt for a free tank of fuel to replace the bad one… Who is going to pay for repairs that will most be likely be needed on the affected cars??

    1 REPLY
  2. I used it once in my car which had been serviced a month prior to my filling up with E10… I drove to a nearby town (76 k’s) and the motor started chugging.. The computer said”check engine”… I turned the motor off and on again and it seemed to be ok. I took it to my dealer and they checked the computer and they changed my spark plugs and charged me $490… Not a happy chappy.. Had a bit of a blue .. Argued that they had only a month ago put new plugs in etc… They didn’t care… But.. I haven’t used E10 since…

  3. I have a brand new car, but wont use E10 i go to a garage where i can get plain unleaded, my choice to pay more for the petrol, (and it is more as i live in regional nsw near coffs harbour) but maybe in the long run its worth it …..

  4. My vehicle has a sticker inside the fuel cap door indicating that E10 fuel is OK. It has run for over 50,000 km almost exclusively on E10, no dramas.
    Unless your car has such a sticker, DON’T use E10. Simple as that.

    8 REPLY
    • May be simple, but when visiting Sydney, I have found it very difficult to find LRP91 – and the same in large towns in rural NSW.

    • A mechanic told me our classic cars will not run on E10 or E20 without special filtration – carbies. I run 98 and will just have to continue to pay pay pay as fuel goes up……big con job…..always has been!

    • Whatever your classic cars are, they wouldn’t have been built with E10 in mind – nor indeed, ordinary unleaded, I daresay.

    • e10 will destroy older cars o rings which are not designed for a 10% paint thinners laced fuel replace all the orings and original rubber gaskets with modern ones and the problem is solved -dont run e10 in cheap chinese weed eaters oir trimmers you will be in for a world of trouble –just look at the recycle shops and see how many ryobe trimmers are for sale all products of e10nexposur e

  5. Don’t you think that, just maybe, the storage tank may have suffered a water seepage problem, as can happen on occasions, no matter what the type of fuel is involved? Especially if it is a 75-25% water contamination rate. Just a thought.

  6. I just bought a new Hyundai i30 and the handbook tells you not to use it and if you do your warranty may be void . By the way it is a great car with everything as standard , even on the base model at under 20 grand on the road in auto .

  7. When I bought my new car they told me not to use E10, and as I have no qualifications as a mechanic I do as I was told. Skimping on a budget is sometimes more expensive in the long run.

    2 REPLY
    • Here, at least – E10 is the same cost as regular unleaded, so “skimping on a budget” comment doesn’t apply.

    • You know what hurts, Port Alma where the ships dock is 3/4 hour drive away and Rockies petrol prices are through the roof. Cheaper to go West and North to buy it.

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