Experts are warning that many popular cars are likely to be unable to use a new fuel which promises to reduce tail-pipe emissions.
It follows a consultation launched by the Department for Transport (DfT) on its proposal to encourage larger forecourts to sell E10 petrol to help the UK meet climate change targets.
Currently, unleaded petrol in the UK contains up to five per cent bioethanol, a grade known as E5.
E10 petrol contains up to ten per cent bioethanol and, while not yet available in the UK, it is estimated that could hit forecourts within the next two years.
In total, there will be 634,309 petrol cars in use that will be incompatible with E10 in 2020, according to the research.
Of these, 150,000 will have been manufactured from the year 2000 onwards.
Analysis by motoring research charity the RAC Foundation estimated 28,066 Volkswagen Golfs on the road that would be affected, the most of any model.
Other models include the Nissan Micra (15,785), Rover 25 (9,879) and Ford Escort (8,947).
At such time when E10 appears on the forecourts, drivers need to know whether their cars can use it without being damage, the analysis shows that even in a couple of years’ time there will still be hundreds of thousands of cars on the roads that are incompatible with the new fuel.
Whilst some of the cars incompatible with E10 fuel will be historic models, many will be old but serviceable everyday run-arounds that people on a tight travel budget rely on to get about.
Most common E10 incompatible cars
Volkswagen Golf (28,066)
MG MGB (20,890)
Mazda MX-5 (18,162)
Nissan Micra (15,785)
Morris Minor (12,796)
Rover 25 (9,879)
MG MGF (9,352)
Ford Escort (8,947)
Rover Mini (7,614)
MG TF (7,568)
The DfT has said: “This Government is ambitiously seeking to reduce the UK’s reliance on imported fossils fuels and cut carbon emissions from transport.
“But drivers of older vehicles should not be hit hard in the pocket as a result.
“The E10 petrol consultation will give a better understanding of the impact of E10 on the UK market, and to ensure that drivers are protected if any changes come into effect.”
The government consultation runs until September 16.