The articles recently posted from Steve Bill Hanshew (Passing gas) and Ben Visser (The demise of 100LL is no surprise) were a breath of fresh air, devoid of the usual P.C. claptrap surrounding most environmental debate these days.
We, the co-authors of the online GaFuels blog, would like to add a few points to this important discussion:
1. We’ve had a solution for 70%-80% of the current 100LL users for 20-plus years: ethanol-free premium gasoline, also called Mogas or AutoGas.
2. In the past, the lack of Mogas pumps at airfields was largely due to the unwillingness of FBOs to add a second fuel tank for piston engine aircraft, likely due to economic reasons.
3. The rapid disappearance of Mogas from public airfields (122 out of 3,655 listed on Airnav on Jan. 28) is now due to the disappearance of ethanol-free gasoline across the country, itself the result of the ill-advised federal EISA 2007 ethanol production mandates.
4. Since they were unwilling to install an extra fuel pump for Mogas, these same FBOs are unlikely to install a second pump for 94UL or whatever substitute may come along.
5. Like Mogas, 94UL does not solve the problem of the 20% of aircraft that need 100LL today. This includes many warbirds and classic radials. Can you imagine a world with all these flying reminders of history grounded forever?
6. Premium ethanol-free Mogas is the preferred fuel for Rotax 912 and 914 series engines that make up more than 80% of the growing fleet of LSA aircraft in North America. The ability to burn lower-cost Mogas was originally one of the key selling points for the new LSA sector.
7. As admitted by industry experts in a panel discussion regarding fuels at EAA AirVenture 2009, a seamless replacement of 100LL is not likely to be found.
8. Availability of ethanol-free gasoline is often due to the needs of boaters at local marinas, as in Florida. It is essentially non-existent now in the Pacific Northwest and many other parts of the country.
See details of these issues on our GaFuels blog and please contact us with news of changes to the Mogas situation at your airfield.
The GAfuels Blog is written by three private pilots concerned about the future availability of fuels for piston-engine aircraft. They are:
- Dean Billing (Sisters, Ore.) – an expert on autogas and ethanol
- Kent Misegades (Cary, N.C.) – an aerospace engineer and aviation journalist
- Todd Petersen (Minden, Neb.) – former aerial applicator and owner of more than 150 Mogas STCs for aircraft
For a list of airports that have ethanol-free fuel and those no longer pumping it, compiled by the authors, follow this link.