When will the FAA get it?

There is a rather clarifying paragraph in the EPA Notice published Nov. 16 that denied a waiver on ethanol blending quotas that was requested by several states, resulting from the effects of the drought on the corn crop this summer. I turn your attention to pages 27-29 of the document, which clearly outlines the changes happening in the gasoline production environment and portends the end of premium unleaded gasoline as we know it:

“As ethanol production and availability in the U.S. has increased over the past 10 years, the economics of blending ethanol into gasoline have been such that many refiners have transitioned from producing primarily finished gasoline to producing primarily blendstocks for oxygenate blending (BOBs), which require the addition of ethanol in order to meet the specifications of finished gasoline. However, assuming refiners wanted for business reasons to reduce the quantity of ethanol blended into the gasoline pool, refiners would have to seek alternative high octane blend stocks or significantly adjust refinery operations to make up for the volume and octane increase they currently receive from ethanol. Logistical challenges to the refined product distribution system would also have to be overcome in parallel with the necessary refinery operation changes.”

It should be obvious to all that the U.S. will become a BOB-only production environment as the ever-increasing ethanol quotas in EISA 2007 completely swamp the gasoline pool. In fact, unless the BOB produced is ASTM D4814 compliant, which is clearly NOT necessary, there will be no E0 whatsoever from most refineries and 90 AKI premium will be the highest available product. This means that 91AKI Premium unleaded, as required by most LSA engines and Petersen’s high compression STCs, will most likely become a thing of the past in the US.

Too bad the FAA doesn’t get it.

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. Yo dudes! Instructions for my 2011 Harley 1200cc Sportster clearly state–91 octane, max 10% ethanol. I currently tank up with 93 octane premium, plan to go down the road a bit to get 91 octane, no lead, no ethanol from the Fastrak store. “(E)conomics of blending ethanol” includes $0.50 of our tax dollars as a credit for each gallon blended in. Refiners don’t want to let lose of our tax dollars. Swift fuels UL102, come on!

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