Why can’t I find ethanol-free fuel?

One of the most frequent questions we receive from pilots is why their local gas station can no longer supply them with ethanol-free autogas, an FAA-approved lead-free aviation fuel since 1982. Readers of this blog know the answers to this question, but there remain many who believe that gas stations are forbidden from selling anything but E10. Here is one recent inquiry from Idaho, with a good explanation from Dean Billing:

Q. – Is it true as of 01-01-2012 all fuel sold in Idaho will be blended with ethanol? Gary from Idaho.

A. – From GAfuels blogger Dean Billing of Sisters, Ore.: There is no state law requiring ethanol blending in Idaho. But, as my website points out, the amount of ethanol required by the federal RFS mandate in EISA 2007 requires more and more ethanol be blended in gasoline every year until 2022.

During 2012 the blending quota of about 13.8 billion gallons of ethanol will swamp the gasoline pool, which I have been predicting for more than three years. No state has a statute that some gasoline without ethanol must be produced to protect public safety and other users that need ethanol-free gasoline, so it is possible that all of the gasoline sold in Idaho, which is a very small market, will have 10% ethanol in it.

The rumors that I have heard is that the producers in Salt Lake City are converting to producing only E10 and I have heard from others in Utah and Idaho that stations that still had E0 are beginning to distribute E10. The more rural regions of the West are the last areas to convert to E10, but it is inevitable that all gasoline will be E10 by the end of the year unless some sanity prevails.

The GAfuels Blog is written by two private pilots concerned about the future availability of fuels for piston-engine aircraft: Dean Billing, Sisters, Ore., a pilot, homebuilder and expert on autogas and ethanol, and Kent Misegades, Cary, N.C., an aerospace engineer, aviation sales rep for U-Fuel, and president of EAA1114.


  1. Barry Wood says

    In Canada
    all gasoline has at least 5% ethanol except for Shell Premium.

    I have talked to Shell representatives and they say that
    they will not be putting Ethanol in Premium fuel.

    I am not sure what they do in the US but it might be something to

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