Welcome to our resource for MG Car Information.



MG parts spares and accessories are available for MG T Series (TA, MG TB, MG TC, MG TD, MG TF), Magnette, MGA, Twin cam, MGB, MGBGT, MGC, MGC GT, MG Midget, Sprite and other MG models from British car spares company LBCarCo.

MG MGA - Ethanol in UK fuel

I have just had one of our club members on the phone. He is quite agitated about the imminent addition of ethanol to our fuel in UK following a European Union (EU) ruling. I know this has been going on in Europe for a year or so and many years in USA . Apparently we in UK will get E5 (5%) to start with quickly followed by E10 - and there will be no choice - take it or leave it. There has been little or nothing in the press here although several classic car clubs have just started to be aware of it and the detrimental effects on fuel lines and carburettors. Can any of you in USA or EU shed any light on the drawbacks you have found in your MGA when using ethanol fuel in it? There was a discussion on the MGB forum earlier this month where the blame was placed at the door of the eco-lobby and farmers who produce sugar cane purely for fuel not food.
Cam Cunningham

Where in the public domain is this information Cam?
Robert (Bob) Midget Turbo

Over 'ere it is ethanol from corn - highly subsidized as a result of the farm / eco lobby. There is basically no choice; it is all E10. Not sure about the high test, it is too expensive anyway. Having said that, I can see no adverse effects in all my driving - VW J#tt@ and V*lv# 740. There is probably a bit worse fuel economy, but I can't compare it as there is no E0! these cars are 10 and 19 years old.
Art Pearse


If you want to read all the detail the consultation paper is at:

And the regulations at:

It essentially states that the limit on ethanol in standard fuel goes up to a max of 10% and in Super Unleaded to 5% up to 2013. The regulations are not an easy read.

A good summary is in the latest FBHVC newsletter.

Happy reading!

Malcolm Asquith

My MGA coupe vapor-locks on occasion and leaves me sitting for about 20-30 minutes! This has happened about 3 times ,then i was able to find some ethanol free but thats drying up here again! I know 1 place selling it now!

I guess your mate is an anti European is he Cam? :)

If I understand correctly then we as a continent have a problem or 2.

Oil based petroleum will run out at sometime and thus we need an alternative that would preferably be renewable.
(personally I like the hydrogen solution!) :)

And we need to cut down on emissions, the climate change we have seen this last year or so is testiment to that I suspect.

So if I have understood correctly the information then the EU rules governing petrol quality had o be ammended to allow the use of Ethanol in fuel

Not too sinister is it however it would be good to understand what the disadvantages were?
Robert (Bob) Midget Turbo

Thanks for the links Malcolm.
Bob - my club colleague is anti-everything modern - but then he is a Jaguar and a Triumph car owner (as well as a BSA m'bike) in addition to his midget. I agree we need to dilute the petrol to make it go further - it is the detrimental side effects (if any) I am concerned about - cheers Cam
Cam Cunningham

We have been forced to use E10 here for years now. In the beginning it caused problems with swelling of hoses and gaskets in older cars that were not compatable with alchol. It also will tend to clean varnish out of your fuel system which leads to plugged fuel filters. Once that is cleared up the only other complaints I have is it seems that my car is much more prone to vapor lock in warm weather. It has reduced gas mileage which in turn makes you use more fuel so I don't see how it is a conservation remedy. More like a money maker for the ethanol manufacturers being sold to us as enviromentally friendly.
Ed Bell

As Cam said, you may have some trouble initially but if you replace all your rubber hoses and make sure you change your fuel filter a few times as the ethanol cleans the system out you should be fine.
Mike The Wiz

Other than the aforementioned reports of vapor lock (although I've never personally experienced that) I have seen no ill effects from E10 fuels. Of course there is the downside of slightly reduced mileage. I can't remember exactly when the Ethanol was added, but it has been here in Chicago Area for at least 25 years. It started out as "allowed" but now is a required additive for air quality concerns. I've been driving MGA's for 20 years and never intentionally sought out the non-ethanol fuels. I've never experienced a problem known to be related to E10. E85 is commonly available around here now but at this level of Ethanol there are problems unless the car has been designed for it. I heard some talk about going to E20 or E25 minimum. There is some hesitation from "those who know" about this level of Ethanol.

Interestingly, Brazil has had E100 fuel availble for automobiles since the mid 70's.
Chuck Schaefer

I remember Cleveland Discol had some alcohol in it back in 1965 or so.
Art Pearse

Same experences as Chuck in everything from 1940's and 50's tractors,'60's Honda motorcycles,'60's mercury outboards and my MGA.Only this winter had trouble with my '90's snowblower.It had gummy black globs which I believe was parts of the fuel line,which I changed and now have had no problems since
gary starr

10% gasohol is a killer for vintage car fuel systems, but you can deal with it. I've been living with E10 for about 20 years, just getting calloused to the fact that there is no longer any way to avoid it.

Get the Teflon lined fuel hoses (had mine since 1986), Viton seals between float chamber and carb body (a few years now with no problem), Teflon o-ring seals for the carb main jets (12 years and 120,000 miles with no drip). Then start thinking about additional heat shielding between carburetors and exhaust manifold, because hot carbs will boil the alcohol much easier than non-alcohol fuel. I just did this, but have to wait for hot weather for a good test.

Bubbles in the fuel make it go very lean. The immediate cure is to pull the choke out to regain proper fuel mixture to keep it running until the carbs can cool down. For long term durability, the next time it needs a valve job, install hardened steel valve seats, Stellite exhaust valves (and maybe bronze valve guides).

I think that's about it, then drive on for years to come (until they spring another fuel change on us).
Barney Gaylord

I've not noticed any problems since we were forced to use E10. In my perception, the biggest problem with E10 is water absorption and phase separation. E10 has a storage life of about 90 days. I've taken to using a fuel stabilizer but from what I understand this only delays phase separation but does not stop water absorption. This can be a big problem if you let the car set all winter. Plus, fuel stations may have had E10 in their tanks for a while before you buy it. Keep a close eye on this. A lot of good info about it on the internet.
G T Foster

I feel lucky here in the USA. We have a few sources with out ethanol but I'm sure I will lose them soon. In asia (Bangkok) they use 20% ethanol. There is an additive we can use on our LBC'c.
David Honness

This thread was discussed between 14/02/2011 and 16/02/2011

MG MGA index

This thread is from the archive. The Live MG MGA BBS is active now.