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Panic at the pump: new fuel classifications explained

Author:   |  October 15th, 2018

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Standard diesel, unleaded and gas classifications have now been changed all across the European community.

Last Friday 12th October was the switch-over date for petroleum and diesel labelling across the European Union and other non-EU states such as Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Turkey


The reason for the change – which you may or may not have noticed by now at your local petrol station – was to standardise the different brands of unleaded, diesel and gas and to make consumers aware of their biofuel content; all in the name of making us more conscious of the environmental impact of filling up our cars and gradually phasing out fossil fuel combustion.

No longer can you fill your car up with standard diesel, petrol (gasolina here in Spain) 95 or 98. From now on, you will have to be aware of the distinction between B7, B10 and XTL when refuelling your diesel vehicle and E5, E10 and E85 in the case of petrol engines.

Let’s break this down by engine type. The new diesel classifications are the following: B7 and B10 are for cars that run on 7% and 10% biodiesel respectively, while XTL is the term for paraffinic – or synthetic – diesel fuel.

For petrol motors, the classifications are a little simpler. The “E” in E5, E10 and E85 stands for ethanol fuel and the numbers refer to the percentage of the additive used in each of the three grades of ethanol-blended petrol.

The new gaseous fuel nomenclatures are H2 for hydrogen, CNG for compressed natural gas, LPG for liquid petroleum gas and LNG for liquid natural gas.

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  1. MRS J BATES says:

    Hi, Is there a difference in the petrol prices for E5, 10 and 85. I am travelling to Spain next month and hiring a car so this information is really helpful. Thanks. Jan

    • Simon Livett says:

      Hi there Jan,

      First of all, thanks for your message! In answer to your question, prices for a standard petrol rental vehicle at the pump start at around €1.35 per litre for E5, which roughly equates to Unleaded 95. If you want to fill up with a better grade petrol, it will cost upwards of €1.40 or €1.45 per litre for E10, with premium fuels like Repsol’s Efitec setting you back significantly more.

      Diesel fuel is quite similar in price to petrol at the moment at most petrol stations, so if your hire car is diesel, you should expect to pay around €1.30-€1.40 per litre.

      It also depends on where you fill up, too! In and around Marbella is quite a bit more expensive than getting your fuel from either Estepona to the west or Mijas Costa to the east, so that’s definitely worth bearing in mind.

      I hope this answers your question.

      On a different note, I notice that you sent us a request a few months ago via our live chat. If you are looking for a property on the Costa del Sol, we highly recommend you sign up to a free myVIVA account to get the most out of your search. Follow the following link to set up your account: https://www.yourviva.com/myviva/signup.php#popup-myviva-login

      Thanks again and have a nice day!

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