The GAfuels Blog is written by two private pilots concerned about the future availability of fuels for piston-engine aircraft: Dean Billing, Sisters, Ore., an expert on autogas and ethanol, and Kent Misegades, Cary, N.C., an aerospace engineer and aviation journalist.
The number of signatures on our petition requesting the EPA to prohibit the use of ethanol in Premium gasoline continues its steady rise. Among the nearly 4,000 people who have so far signed it, many are airplane owners who have documented the impact of ethanol contamination of Mogas, the other FAA-approved aviation fuel that can safely and affordably power 70%-80% of all piston engine aircraft, and nearly 100% of a new LSA airplanes. Below are several recent comments that passionately urge our government to preserve an ethanol free fuel for aviation and engines found in millions of other applications. Despite the continued spread of ethanol in our nation’s fuel supply, the number of sources of ethanol-free fuel listed at Pure-Gas.org continues its steady rise, too.
# 3,627: We need to keep G.A. alive. Most airplanes in this area cannot run on ethanol fuel. Feed the world not a bad idea.
# 3,546: Have single engine airplane and it burns 100LL that’s why!
# 3,539: I fly a small plane…and I have a couple of marine outboard motors…Ethanol gas is detrimental to operation of these type of engines.
# 3,296: Our family airplanes need alcohol-free fuel badly. Alcohol fuels are dangerous for airplanes and many other uses. The alcohol-use mandate has caused famine in 3rd world countries because food prices doubled. They waste 2 gals diesel for every gal alcohol made!
# 3,211: My airplane cannot run on ethanol-based gas so I am forced to use 100LL, which fouls plugs and is bad for the environment.
# 3,133: The ethanol gas is ruining all my small engines as well as downright dangerous to use in my airplane.
# 3,084: While I’m a supporter of ethanol, there needs to be a source for ethanol-free fuel. I own an airplane that requires ethanol-free gasoline.
# 3,080: Airplanes do not like ethanol. This would put many pilots at great risk or end general aviation.
# 3,011: Motorcycles, lawn equipment, farm motors, homebuilt airplanes all use specifically ethanol-free gasoline. The airplane uses 91 octane non-ethanol. In a high humidity climate, the water collects in the fuel and causes carburetor problems. Shelf life is only 90 days, causing winter storage problems of lawn equipment.
# 2,925: I have two experimental aircraft with Rotax engines. The preferred gasoline is ethanol free. Gasoline in aircraft sits up to two months before use. Ethanol is a flight safety problem. Our flying club has lost one plane directly attributable to ethanol and one near loss. That is out of eight planes. In addition, my two fishing boats. Ethanol has too many problems. Granted in Florida the marinas have ethanol-free gas but the cost is considerably more.
# 2,810: Have two airplanes that require premium unleaded with no ethanol gasoline. I also have an ATV and a pickup truck that runs best on gasoline that don’t have ethanol in the fuel.
# 2,792: To run my Cessna 310 without worrying what the ethanol is doing to my engines. This is the most environmentally aware and conscientious major industrial country ever on the planet. Don’t even try to tell me that general aviation’s use of leaded fuels will make the slightest difference. This whole ethanol subject isn’t helping anyone.
# 2,790: My carbon fiberglass airplane has nearly been destroyed when my premium gas switched to ethanol blend. It breaks down the epoxy resins. The Rotax 912 engine cannot use 100LL. I need premium ethanol lead free fuel PLEASE!
# 2,785: I have an airplane that has an auto fuel STC, which means I can use car gas as long as it does not have an alcohol blend, and with the proposed phase out of 100LL gasoline that leaves most small aircraft owners in a very bad situation!
# 2,781: Because ethanol is a detriment to use of my airplane, cars and many small engines. It greatly increases cost of maintenance and reduces performance. I am very much for reducing air pollution, but there are many better ways. Large corporate agriculture benefits and we the people suffer.
# 2,733: So that my airplanes will not crash.
# 2,652: I fly a plane that uses automobile fuel and the ethanol in that fuel clogs my carburetors and eats my fuel lines at an alarming rate. This is not a safe condition and that puts my life at stake. This problem needs to be addressed…allow us to have a fuel source that is free of ethanol.
# 2,594: Ethanol is corrosive to the rubber components in my old airplane engine and classic cars. Corn is food! The cost of water, energy used and resulting higher food prices, far outweigh any benefit of ethanol used as fuel!
# 2,571: Ethanol dissolves the resin in my fiberglass fuel tanks in my experimental airplane. This is obviously quite dangerous and could cause engine stoppage in flight.
# 2,436: I drive a 2001 GMC 3500 with an 8.1 litre engine, with heavy loads. It causes the engine to ping, I recently replaced my spark plugs and was horrified at their condition after only 30,000 miles of trailering. I also own a single-engine airplane, the carburetor is not jetted and adjusted for the lack of power produced by ethanol. It takes more ethanol to make the same power causing performance to fall, the performance charts for that aircraft assume the engine is running at its potential and using the fuel it was designed and built to run on.
# 2,368: I have a boat and sport airplane. I am not rich! I spent my money carefully and worked hard all my life to get my dream. We need to keep ethanol out of our sport vehicles to keep them working.
# 2,351: I have an STC to use it in my airplane. I am temporarily in Virginia, but Alaska is home and there is where I do my flying. Ethanol is especially destructive to engines and fuel systems in the cold of Alaska. Nor does alcohol-laced gasoline store well in village/remote storage tanks, further jeopardizing aircraft that use Mogas. Additionally, I have a family farm and we use quite a bit of gasoline in small engines that are also easily damaged by alcohol-diluted gasoline (chainsaws, 3- and 4-wheelers, brushcutters, augers, etc.).
# 2,333: I have an airplane engine that uses auto gas. I cannot use gas with ethanol in it because: (1) It is a safety problem, and (2) Ethanol destroys the rubber components in the engine and the sealants in the fuel tanks. I now fuel my airplane on my residential airport. I’ll have to fly miles away to obtain fuel containing lead. Does that make sense?
# 2,325: I fly an ultralight plane. Regular automotive gas will destroy ultralight 2-stroke engines. Ethanol gas can create unsafe conditions and lead to engine malfunction.
# 2,258:The Franklin engine in my classic 1946 Stinson airplane cannot tolerate the high lead levels in modern aviation fuel (the misnamed 100 oct. LL – or “low lead”). It operates fine on non-ethanol auto fuel, but it is unsafe and illegal to put auto fuel containing ethanol in the tanks. Therefore, I require continued and wide (if I wish to travel) access to non-ethanol auto fuel.
# 2,226: In light of the uncertain future for 100LL aircraft fuel, I will need ethanol-free gasoline for my small airplane. Also my older boat motor and fuel system require ethanol-free gasoline.
# 2,189: Ethanol would destroy the fiberglass fuel tanks of my Kitfox airplane.
# 2,183: I need pure premium gasoline (ethanol-free) for my airplane. It’s cheaper and lead free, better for the environment. Keep Premium Gasoline Ethanol-Free!
# 2,089: The manufacturer of my airplane does not allow me to use fuel containing ethanol.
# 1,996: Lawn mower, weed eater, airplane with autogas STC, chain saws, all need pure gas. Also Rotax engines don’t need the 100LL, fouls the plugs. What is the benefit of ethanol? It makes more pollution because it requires more fuel to go the same distance.
# 1,985: I have an airplane with a Rotax engine that is subject to plug fouling, oil contamination and gearbox damage from the lead in aviation fuel and, though the engine is designed to use automotive gasoline instead, the alcohol in automotive gas damages the fiber reinforced plastic wing structure that contains the fuel.
# 1,976: I use auto fuel in my airplanes almost exclusively, so it’s important to me, as well as to many of my pilot friends that ethanol-free gasoline be widely available across the United States.
# 1,949: I need ethanol-free super unleaded fuel for my airplane. As recommended by the engine manufacturer. The use of ethanol gasoline dissolves my fuel tanks and clogs the carbs with dissolved resin. My only option is to use 100LL leaded aviation fuel. Leading to frequent oil changes and lead pollution.
# 1,944: My airplane has FAA approval to burn unleaded, non-ethanol automotive gas, which greatly reduces my consumption of leaded aviation gas. Unfortunately, fuel that contains ethanol will damage parts of the fuel system, reduces engine performance and increases the risk of engine problems during flight so there is a need to continue production of non-ethanol auto gas.