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Watch for B30 Diesel when motorhoming in France

Posted on 04 Feb 2011

Sally Pepper/Jean Hodge

British motorhomers planning holidays in Europe this summer are urged to take extra care when filling up with diesel.

Biodiesel is produced from oilseed rape, sunflower oil, used frying oils and palm oil. Unless a vehicle has been specifically designed to use it, it can damage fuel injection.

In the UK all diesel contains up to 7% biodiesel. In France the proportion is similar, However, a B30 diesel blend (containing 30% biodiesel) is also available in France (and other parts of Europe), and it is this that has caught out some British holidaymakers. B30 is only suitable for vehicles specifically designed to use it.

Journalist Mike Cazalet believes the problem is that various seals in the fuel system are not suitable for bio fuel. He advised: “The seals may not fail immediately, which is why people who have filled up with the wrong fuel often think they’ve got away with it, but the seals probably will, expensively, fail.”

Most manufacturers advise customers to use only conventional diesel fuel, and Volkswagen says the use of B30 may invalidate the engine and exhaust system warranty.

A few filling stations in the UK also sell the B30 blend – Morrisons supermarkets has stocked this at its forecourts.

To avoid problems, we advise:

  • Stick to conventional diesel fuel
  • Avoid B30 – look out for the B30 label and possibly an orange pump
  • Use B30 only if you have established with your manufacturer that your vehicle is able to run on this mix

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