Ben Sclair is publisher of General Aviation News.
Would you fly more if fuel cost less? I bet you would.
What do you think the general aviation marketplace would look like in five years if a majority of the GA fleet could enjoy a 30% reduction in their per gallon fuel bill? Oh, if only we could reduce the cost of fuel 30%.
Hey, did you know that mogas cost about 30% less than avgas, on average? It does. On Feb. 17, the average cost of 100LL was $5.09 a gallon, according to the website 100LL.com, and the average cost of mogas was $3.40, according to AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report. Okay, so I lied. On Feb. 17 the average gallon of mogas was 33% cheaper than the average gallon of avgas.
If only we could burn mogas in our airplanes. [My phone’s ringing]. Excuse me, I’ll be right back.
Um, how do I say this? Mogas is an FAA-approved fuel. There are a few caveats (aren’t there always?). Simplified, they are:
- Low-compression aircraft engines only;
- Aircraft must have a mogas STC; and
- Mogas can not contain ethanol.
Man, tens of thousands of aircraft owners are down with numbers one and two, but hardly any of us is down with three.
Can you believe it? A slip of paper and ethanol-free mogas are all that stand in the way of hundreds of thousands of pilots saving 30%, or more, off their fuel bills. (I feel like a Geico commercial — 30 minutes could save you 30%).
If only there were other benefits to lowering the cost of flying.
But there are. Here are just a few off the top of my head:
Pilots will fly more, maintaining better currency, becoming safer pilots, while pumping more gas, which increases the Aviation Trust Fund balance, which can be put to use for better aviation infrastructure.
Oh, and those planes flying more hours will require a bit more maintenance, or at least more often, which should make our mechanics happier.
And from AOPA’s flight training research last year, we know that student pilots “are more concerned about getting good value with the money they spend than about the actual dollars and cents amount.” Well, cost plays a part in value, so lowering cost should make the “value” of learning to fly easier to compute.
If only there was something we could do to make it easier to get ethanol-free mogas. If only…