Super E10 is the term used for petrol that contains at most 10 percent bioethanol by volume in addition to fossil petrol. Bioethanol is alcohol obtained primarily from plant-based feedstocks. Since its introduction in Europe in 2011, Super E10 petrol has become available in a growing number of European countries. Drivers travelling around Europe can fill their tank with Super E10 in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Ireland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Sweden. The fuel blend is also available in the UK. Spain is planning a broad market launch.

In Germany, certified sustainable bioethanol is produced from renewable feedstocks such as feed grain and sugar beet, as well as from agricultural and food-industry residues and waste. When feed grain and sugar beet are used, only part of these agricultural feedstocks is processed into bioethanol. The remainder is used to produce GMO-free, protein-rich animal feed and other co-products, such as biogenic carbon dioxide, gluten, biofertilizer, and biomethane.

In 2022, feed grain and sugar beet used to produce German bioethanol was grown on only 3.3 per cent of Germany’s 11.7 million hectares of arable land. However, the feedstocks included in the calculation – feed grain and sugar beet – produce a wider range of products than simply bioethanol to be blended into petrol. GMO-free animal feed is the second major category. Neutral alcohol for the chemical industry, biogenic carbonic acid, gluten, biofertilizer, and biomethane are also generated. Logically enough, that means that the number of hectares needed to grow bioethanol feedstocks is in practice only half the figure indicated above.

In newer vehicles, a simple symbol on the filler neck indicates E10 compatibility. However, before 2018 manufacturers were not obliged to label vehicles as Super E10-compatible, although almost 99 per cent of registered cars with petrol engines are in fact Super E10-compatible. Since October 2018, standardised fuel labelling has been in force throughout Europe; graphic symbols are now mandatory for new vehicles’ tanks, as well as at petrol pumps.

Comparative tests commissioned in 2019 by the German Bioethanol Industry Association (BDBe) to examine fuel consumption with Super (E5) and Super E10 reveal that fuel consumption in the models tested scarcely increased, also in the light of the negligible cost differential of 0.09 litres per 100 km. The vehicles included in the tests were widely available models manufactured by BMW, Ford, Opel, Renault and VW in various vehicle classes with high registration figures in Germany. An Opel Corsa, for example, requires over two per cent less fuel per 100 km with Super E10 than with Super (E5). The tests did not confirm the frequent supposition that fuel consumption would soar as a result of introducing Super E10 due to the lower calorific value of bioethanol compared to fossil petrol. Independent measurements of fuel consumption (TÜV Rheinland and DEKRA) conducted in 2011 likewise showed no increase in fuel consumption with Super E10 compared to conventional Super (E5), which contains up to 5 per cent bioethanol. The initial assumption that deploying Super E10 would increase fuel consumption by around 5 per cent compared to Super (E5) has therefore not been confirmed. On the contrary, newer petrol engines are optimised for Super E10.

Super E10 is cheaper than conventional Super (E5) petrol throughout Germany. Since early 2020, Super E10’s price advantage over Super (E5) has risen to around 6 cents per litre nationwide. With virtually identical fuel consumption, fuel costs are noticeably lower if drivers run their Super E10-compatible vehicles on Super E10.

Notices warning against using Super E10 in non-compatible vehicles should be viewed as a precautionary measure to avoid damage. That does not mean that filling up with Super E10 by mistake will inevitably damage your vehicle. After Super E10 was introduced in Germany, the ADAC, Europe's largest automobile association, ran a test with a car that did not have manufacturer approval for Super E10. In the course of a test drive run for several weeks, a defect was only recorded after around 30,000 kilometres.

On this point, the ADAC notes that "to date, no instances of damage due to this fuel have ever been recorded in cars that are approved as compatible".

New vehicles that incorporate technical innovations, along with lower fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions are only gradually entering the vehicle fleet through new registrations each year. That also holds true for battery-driven electric vehicles. In seeking to shrink CO2 emissions from existing vehicles in the short and medium term, Super E10 for petrol engines is the only solution that can be implemented immediately through the established filling station network. After all, there are still almost 31 million cars with petrol engines on German roads.

Germany’s Biofuel Sustainability Ordinance ensures that feedstocks for bioethanol certified in Germany do not come from areas deemed to merit particular protection and that bioethanol significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions. In 2022, the official figures ascertained for greenhouse gas reduction thanks to bioethanol use in Germany determined a drop of 90 per cent against the statutory comparative value stipulated for fossil petrol. On average, 127 g more emissions savings are achieved per litre of Super E10 than with Super (E5). That corresponds to greenhouse gas savings of around 133 kg CO2 per year, based on average distance driven of 14,000 km/year and average fuel consumption of 7.5 litres/100 km.

Yes. DIN EN 228, the European standard for petrol guarantees the quality of Super E10 in Germany and all other EU Member States, for instance also for "SP95-E10" in France. Bioethanol is the only certified sustainable blending component for officially authorised petrol.

Over 66 per cent of the bioethanol consumed in Germany in 2022 was produced using European feedstocks. However, as consumption of bioethanol is higher than domestic production, bioethanol is imported from other EU Member States and third countries. Imported bioethanol from Brazil or the USA, for example, must also comply with strict European sustainability provisions and be certified accordingly. Production of bioethanol from plant-based feedstocks always goes hand in hand with food production. During production of the alcohol, the plant-based feedstocks also inter alia produce GMO-free animal feed. This helps ensure that the EU is not reliant on imports of genetically modified animal feed.

Pursuant to the Biofuel Sustainability Ordinance in force in Germany and to European Directive 2009/28, rainforest areas that have been cleared and other areas with high nature conservation significance may not be utilised to grow crops for bioethanol production. This averts land use changes linked to cultivation of agricultural feedstocks for bioethanol production. In addition, two-thirds of the feedstocks used to produce the ethanol added to petrol blends in Germany are from Germany or from other EU Member States.

In Germany, bioethanol is mainly produced from feed grain and sugar beet, which are cultivated by farmers as part of regular crop rotation in keeping with good professional practice. This regular crop rotation ensures that monocultures are avoided.
You can find more information on the sustainability criteria for certified bioethanol in Germany here: (only in German).


Demand for water, fertilisers and pesticides for crops depends on the requirements of each crop grown. That holds true whether farmers are growing crops for food or animal feed or for bioethanol production. The amount of water, fertiliser and pesticide required remains the same irrespective of the specific purpose for which the crop is utilised – as feed or food or for bioethanol production.

Although water is also required to process agricultural feedstocks to generate bioethanol, in biorefineries in Germany the water is generally treated and subsequently recycled. Bioethanol is produced from the starch contained in feed grain or from the sugar in sugar beet. Over half of the plant-based feedstocks deployed are used to produce animal feed, biogenic carbon dioxide, gluten, biofertilizer, and biomethane.

Germany’s Biofuel Sustainability Ordinance and European Directive 2009/28 prohibit cultivation of feedstocks for bioethanol production on areas where the rainforest has been cleared or in other areas of high nature conservation significance. Bioethanol produced in Germany performs considerably better than the minimum threshold of 50 per cent CO2 savings compared to fossil petrol stipulated in German legislation as a prerequisite for classification as a biofuel. In 2022, bioethanol added to petrol blends in Germany already achieved almost 90 per cent CO2 savings compared to fossil petrol. Consequently, higher proportions of sustainable bioethanol always mean greater climate change mitigation.

Consumer prices for bread and grain-based products have soared in Germany in recent years, but this pricing development is not caused by using crops as feedstocks for bioethanol and co-products. For instance, in Germany, energy, taxes and trade-related expenses make up over 60 per cent of the costs that determine the price of bread, with labour costs accounting for approximately a further 30 per cent. Less than 7 per cent of the final price is determined by the cost of the ingredients.

Food prices and global agricultural commodity prices are mainly determined by supply and demand, weather-related production fluctuations, oil and gas prices, production costs (including wages), and global economic fluctuations. The sky-high market price for wheat due to the drought across Europe in summer 2018 is just one example of the impact extreme weather can have.

Food and energy production are not mutually exclusive in bioethanol production. For example, when feed grain is processed, only around one-third of the feedstock is used to make bioethanol; two-thirds serve to produce protein-rich animal feed and other products such as yeast, gluten, biogenic carbon dioxide, biofertilizer, and biomethane.

In 2022, only 2.8 per cent of the German beet harvest went into bioethanol production, compared to 6.2 per cent of the German grain harvest. The situation is similar worldwide. Using feed grains or sugars therefore has scarcely any impact on global food prices.

There are many reasons for world hunger, such as weather-related crop failures, structural poverty or, in particular, (civil) wars. Data from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) shows that 670 million tonnes of food per annum are thrown away unused in industrialised countries every year, while in developing countries 630 million tonnes of food spoil every year due to a lack of infrastructure before even reaching consumers. There is no scientific evidence of a causal link between biofuel production and global access to food or pricing developments.