On 1 January 2011, the ethanol concentration of 95 octane petrol was raised in Finland in order to ensure that the legislative transport biofuel obligation will be met. The increase in petrol ethanol concentration is one of many measures aimed at achieving the environmental targets set for the transport sector.
The bio ethanol concentration of E10 petrol may fluctuate and be 10% v/v at its highest. Alternatively, the E10 petrol may also contain ethers and other alcohols permissible under the Fuels Quality Directive. The E10 petrol is suitable for use in most of the current vehicle stock (see E10 compatible motors) running on 95 octane petrol.
At least two petrol grades are available on the market: 95 octane 95 E10, and 98 octane 98 E5. The latter may contain up to 5% v/v ethanol. It is suitable for engines that are not compatible with E10. The petrol grade with up to 5% v/v ethanol will continue to be available for many years to come because the Finnish vehicle stock is quite aged. Contrary to some rumours, there are no plans to withdraw it from the market in 2013.
The biofuel minimum distribution requirements adopted in Finland do not automatically imply that after the introduction of the E10 petrol, new petrol grades with even higher ethanol contents would quickly follow.
The biofuel minimum distribution requirements can be met by carrying out several alternative measures, for instance by adding bio components to diesel or by increasing the use of E85 ethanol blends. If the bio components are manufactured from logging waste or refuse, the resulting emission reductions can be double credited. Due to this, new petrol grades with 15-20% v/v ethanol will not be needed for many years to come.