From 1 January 2024, at domestic petrol stations, we will see a new ‘E10’ marking on the pumps. It will indicate a level of up to 10% bioethanol in 95-octane petrol. At the same time, this is the maximum level of bioethanol in petrol permitted by fuel quality requirements in Poland.
Petrol and diesel available at petrol stations are labelled with different symbols. Currently, petrol is marked with an octane number (95 or 98) and the symbol E5, and as of next year also with the symbol E10. Both symbols indicate the maximum bioethanol content of a particular type of fuel. In the case of diesel fuel, we are dealing with symbols B7 or B10, indicating respectively up to 7% or up to 10% of bio-components, most often in the form of esters. Very rarely, we may also observe the symbols XTL (diesel produced from coal or waste) and HVO (diesel produced from vegetable oils).
Does the above mean that every litre of fuel contains an amount of bio-component equal to the number in the symbol? The symbols and quality regulations only indicate their maximum level. There is, theoretically, a chance to fill up a fuel with a lower content of the additives. However, given the high targets for the share of bio-components in sold fuel, this chance is getting smaller every year. E10 petrol will be introduced as a response to the increase in the level of mandatory blending – an obligation under the National Indicative Target.
It is important to remember that all fuels available at stations must meet certain quality requirements. These specify, among other things, their physical appearance, density at a certain temperature, content of various substances (including sulphur or manganese) and the permitted level of fuel additives, such as ethanol.
The monitoring of fuel quality is handled by the so-called Fuel Quality Monitoring and Control System. It is managed by the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) and inspections are carried out by the Trade Inspection. Producing, transporting, storing or placing on the market liquid fuels that do not meet the requirements is punishable by a fine of up to PLN 500,000 or imprisonment for up to three years.