GAFuels: Pure-Gas soars through 6,000, ethanol production drops

The Christmas shopping season provides us with clear evidence that consumers prefer choices, and businesses respond accordingly. Recent news shows that fuel sales are no different.

In the past few days, the number of retail sellers of ethanol-free gasoline listed at the popular website has soared past the 6,000 mark. The number of airports now offering mogas, while still modest, also continues to rise, as can be seen from the table at the bottom of this listing of such airports maintained by GAfuels blogger Dean Billing. As the accompanying map shows, there remain large regions of the country where pilots still do not have the option of the lower-cost, lead-free alternative that mogas offers.

By coincidence (or not?), Bloomberg News reported last week that ethanol sales are down: “U.S. ethanol production is headed for the first decline in 16 years, jeopardizing the nation’s drive to boost alternative fuels, as higher costs and lower demand close plants. Shrinking distilling margins have resulted in a 14 percent drop in output this year to 827,000 barrels a day, or 12.7 billion gallons annually, Energy Department data show, 500 million gallons short of the amount refiners are mandated to use under a 2007 law that calls for escalating consumption of the biofuel. That would be the first yearly decrease since 1996.”

With domestic oil and gas production rising to new levels as this Wall Street Journal article describes, and Next Big Future reporting that the U.S. even surpassed Saudi Arabia in the first week of December, the coming year is sure to bring interesting, market-driven changes to our fuel supply.

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, homebuilder and aviation sales rep for U-Fuel.

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