Coalition works to meet 100LL challenges

A coalition of aviation alphabet groups and petroleum industry associations is striving to meet the challenges created for general aviation by recent government decisions to phase out 100 low-lead avgas. Elimination of 100LL was brought about by a petition from the Friends of the Earth to the Environmental Protection Agency in 2006. This led to the Clean Air Act, which put 100LL on the death list to meet national air quality standards. In response to this, in April the EPA issued an advance notice of proposed rule to stop production and use of 100LL, requesting comments by Aug. 27. A final notice of rule making is expected in 12 to 24 months.

About 30% of high performance aircraft consume roughly 70% of the avgas, industry experts speculate. Using a fuel other than 100LL would allow most to operate, but would affect performance of the aircraft. No replacement fuel is currently available. Without a viable transition, general aviation flying could face severe problems. Recognizing the inevitability of the elimination of 100LL, the coalition is putting together plans and programs to make the transition as easy and inexpensive as possible. One factor making the transition urgent is the fuel availability after a final rule is issued. Avgas represents only 0.1% of petroleum. Fighting the elimination instead of striving for an acceptable alternate fuel could bring a risk of restrictions on general aviation operations and support of general aviation airports.

Some of the challenges the coalition faces include the fact that each piston aircraft is designed and certified to a certain fuel; that 100 octane is needed for detonation; and future unleaded specifications are not known. To resolve the problem, the coalition is working proactively to suggest to the EPA and FAA regulations that meet the needs of general aviation and comply with environmental requirements. Criteria for the new fuel, the coalition says, has these basic goals: Fuel safety and performance, aircraft safety and performance, environmental and health issues, fuel production and distribution, and cost impact. The first step is to request an extension of the time for submitting comments to the EPA. Next will be to make a comprehensive study of the general aviation fleet

The coalition is working on a four-step plan: Further develop the public/private relationship, develop unleaded avgas specifications, develop new production aircraft for unleaded fuel and, after that, EPA and FAA mandates for transition.

The working group is being kept to what leaders see as a manageable size, but others are brought in as needed. The core group is: the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Experimental Aircraft Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, National Business Aviation Association, National Air Transportation Association, American Petroleum Institute, and National Petrochemical and Refiners Association.

Charles Spence is GAN’s Washington, D.C., correspondent.

Comments

  1. Matt Comerford says:

    Ed, how does your post contribute to this article, or general aviation at all?

  2. “About 30% of high performance aircraft consume roughly 70% of the avgas, industry experts speculate.”

    Yes, it is certainly speculation, because I defy anyone to provide the statistical evidence for this statement which seems to be repeated everyday, but nobody knows where it came from. The statement has been around for at least a decade and may have been based on an old AOPA study. But what is known is that 100 LL avgas usage is in decline, about 7.5 million gallons / year according to EIA (DOE) on average for the last 5+ years. (http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/pet_cons_prim_dcu_nus_a.htm

    It is probably more likely that 20% of GA needs maybe 50-60% of the 100 LL. The other 80% who use probably 40-50% of the avgas don’t need 100 octane gasoline and in many cases leaded fuel is a detriment. It is unfortunate that LSA aircraft, which is supposedly the fastest growing segment of GA, are forced to use 100 LL which increases their maintenance costs significantly and is a fuel not recommended by Rotax, manufacturer of the 912 engine that is in the vast majority of LSA aircraft. The recommended fuel for the Rotax 912 is premium unleaded mogas, an approved aviation fuel that should be on our public use airports.

  3. Ed Yung says:

    The same Radical Anti-American Environmentalists who want to kill 100LL recently demanded that those suffering on the Gulf Coast not disturb sand on the bottom to keep oil out of marine life breeding grounds; disregarding the FACT that the oil is many times as disruptive to the Gulf including the marine life.

    Of course, Obama deliberately refused to accept offers from experts who offered proven skimming equipment; from as soon as 3 days after the explosion from 13 or 17 countries, depending on which news source you believe. He did so SOLELY because of his Anti-American enviro radical supporters. He also demanded that BP stop several efforts to solve their problem WHEN he thought they were about to solve the problem. This claim is substantiated by numerous BP & private drilling experts.

    He also said during his inauguration speech that “the Constitution (that he’d sworn to uphold; not destroy) is flawed, but I will fix it”.

    His action to refuse skimming offers & shut down oil production while misquoting every single expert who had said it was actually more dangerous to shut down production than to keep it running do undoubtedly constitute TREASONOUS acts.

    You must recall that, after Kennedy killed self, wife & sister-in-law, the Kennedy family demanded that Genav be shut down. Rational heads soon prevailed.

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