More than a quarter of drivers (27%) are yet to check whether their car is compatible with new E10 petrol which has this month arrived at forecourts, with a similar proportion (24%) unaware that the new fuel is being introduced to replace E5 as the standard grade of unleaded petrol, new RAC research has found.

The findings mean the RAC is encouraging drivers to check their vehicle’s compatibility with the new blend of petrol as soon as possible via the free official online checker – something that 26% of those surveyed said they had already done, with a further 15% saying they had found their car was compatible by other agencies.

Those with incompatible vehicles – which are estimated to total around 600,000 – will have to seek out and pay for more expensive E5 super unleaded if they wish to keep them running.  They could find that it may cause damage to seals, plastics and metals over longer periods as a result of bioethanol’s corrosive properties.

The new E10 petrol contains up to 10% bioethanol, replacing E5 which has up to 5%, and is being introduced to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

All vehicles sold in the UK from 2011 are required to be E10 compatible.