The European Fuel Quality Directive limits the content of fatty acid methyl ester (FAME) in European diesel to a maximum of 7% by volume (%vol), commonly referred to as B7. B7 diesel may contain between zero and 7 %vol FAME and it is up to the individual member state of the European Union and fuel marketers to decide the level of FAME in diesel sold in a particular territory.
In general, most diesel fuel sold in public filling stations for use in cars, vans and heavy-duty vehicles contains close to 7%vol FAME.
However, through a flexibility in the European Fuel Quality Directive, France has decided to permit the sale of B10 diesel fuel in its territory and the French national fuel law has been changed to permit the sale of diesel fuel containing a maximum of 10% volume FAME (B10).
At the same time, France has made changes to address concerns that higher FAME diesel fuel will result in vehicle operational concerns, especially in colder conditions.
The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association or ACEA has issued a statement, that “While all ACEA members accept B7 diesel without question, the use of B10 diesel presents issues of compatibility with vehicles, especially the more modern ones with more sophisticated emission control equipment.”
ACEA has issued a B10 compatibility list so that customers facing a choice at diesel pumps in France are aware if their vehicle can use B10 or not.
The European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association represents the 15 major Europe-based car, van, truck and bus makers.
The ACEA document outlines the background to B7 and B10, and in Section 1, provides a list of the vehicles and engines that manufacturers have declared to be compatible with the use of B10 diesel fuel. Section 2 lists the manufacturers and vehicles that are not compatible with the use of B10 diesel fuel and should, therefore, continue to use the normal B7 diesel fuel.
It is a requirement of the EU Fuel Quality Directive that if a filling station offers two diesel grades with different FAME content, they should be clearly labeled to allow the customer to make the right choice.