Chevron abandoning avgas?

Last week your bloggers received news that Chevron appears to be departing the avgas distribution business. We called Hank Maierhoffer, manager of the Plantation Airpark in Sylvania, Ga., (JYL) who confirmed that his avgas supplier, Chevron, is ending sales of avgas and has covered up his Chevron sign.

They are handing their business over to Phillips66 and have made the transition, Hank reported. It is not known if Chevron will continue producing avgas, or is simply ending its distribution of its branded products.

This is not the first time the company has scaled back its aviation presence. In an AOPA article from May, 2010, the company announced the end of distribution of its products in 27 states.

Since news of Chevron’s decision has not been reported by the aviation media nor officially by the company itself, the extent of this change and decisions behind it remain unknown.  Will Chevron continue producing avgas (if it does at all) but is leaving the distribution to others? Was it part of a long-term strategy to end avgas production, as Shell did over 20 years ago?  Was it a reaction to the CEH lawsuit in California that includes avgas producers such as Chevron? Was it a consequence of last month’s announcement by Airworthy Autogas of its lead-free mogas?

Can GAfuels readers provide any further details on this decision by Chevron?

What does this say in general about the future viability of the avgas business?

Comments

  1. says

    Steve, I don’t know where you get your science that there is “no measurable lead from the exhaust pipe”. The science is very clear — the lead is emitted from the exhaust.

    I am by far NOT an environmental wacko, but I have personally seen the effects of lead poisoning, and the sooner we get this crap out of our gas, the better.

    Plus, when you move to unleaded, prepare yourself for the wonders of vastly reduced engine maintenance, no more plug fouling, valve sticking, and so on. You know why our cars these days barely require tune-ups? In large part because we don’t use lead anymore.

  2. Kent Misegades says

    Comment to all – Chevron is very much still in the Avgas business as we learned this week. They will continue producing it but are ending their branded distribution. I have invited them to use this blog to provide a statement on what is changing in their business and why. Thanks to Paul Millner of Chevron for looking into this. Chevron has not made any public statements on this change that we are aware of.

  3. Warren says

    The use of TEL is mandated by the certification of your engine manufacturer and approved by the FAA. Any alternative fuel must pass muster with the manufacturer and the FAA to maintain the type certificate of your aircraft. An approved alternative may come sooner than later but my question is, how enthusiastic can these manufacturers be knowing that many of the engine companies are now working on diesel engines that will be OEM’s, that will make the alternative fuels obsolete in less time than it will take to recoup their investment in all the research that went in the production of these new fuels? I fully realize that the legacy engines will be around for a long time but I believe that the writing is on the wall for them.

    • Dennis Reiley says

      There are additives that will boost the octane levels to the equivalent of 100LL. If the engine can’t handle the mix, there are modifications that can be made.

      When unleaded fuel was mandated for cars and trucks some of the older engines had to have their valve guides replaced as the reduced lubricity of unleaded fuel was less than leaded fuel and the increased friction caused increased wear. None of the problems from using unleaded fuels caused catastrophic failure of any engines, just reduced time between overhauls. You can expect the same results on aircraft engines with the removal of TEL from avgas. The need for TEL is drastically overstated.

      • Croploss says

        According to Mike Busch – Cessna Pilots Association, the lubricity issue with TEL is not significant in aircraft engines

  4. KL says

    We have been in and out of the same energy crisis since 1973 when the first energy crisis began. There is no shortage, just greedy colluders gouging the entire world.

  5. says

    Gee, Kent, did you fact check by contacting the folk(s) you know at Chevron? Chevron announced in 2010 that they’re exiting *distribution* of avgas. Chevron continues to manufacture avgas at three US refineries.

    If you have questions, why not ask Chevron, versus posting baseless rumors online?

    Paul, disappointed mode

    • Kent Misegades says

      Thank you Paul. The headline includes a question mark and the text invites readers to answer the question. Note also a link to an article that confirms your remark about Chevron scaling back distribution in 2010. I do not see any baseless rumors in the posting. The action at Plantation Airpark was described to me by the airport’s manager. I am sure that readers here are glad to know that Chevron will continue producing Avgas. It would have been a good idea for Chevron to publish something on its continued departure as a distributor. No news is generally interpreted as bad news, and we have plenty of that in aviation already.

      • Tim says

        Paul, I do have Chevron contacts and would add this to the dialog on this topic: “Chevron continues to blend leaded Avgas at (three) refineries. We no longer have branded Chevron avgas though we continue to sell Avgas to third parties that service FBOs. The market and regulatory climate are applying downward pressure towards a potential phase out of leaded avgas but we are engaged with the FAA to identify suitable alternatives. The current plan is to continue to blend 100LL until the phase out occurs.”

  6. says

    Sounds like the handwriting is on the wall with respect to the future of AV Gas. While some debatet the merits of auto gas in certified aircraft engines, Kent pointed out in his presentation that altenative options would suit 85% of the fleet. With GA flying down I can’t see the long term availablility of 100LL even in the best case scenario.

  7. Greg W says

    If only a refiner would produce 94UL (ASTM D7592-2010). This fuel seems as though it would fulfill the needs of most users of avgas. The heavy users are switching to turbines and so the 15% or so of users that “need” 100LL is shrinking further. The 94UL is basically 100LL before the TEL. is added, meaning that the fuel in essence is already being made! The remaining aircraft could make use of either modifications such as the Peterson ADI system or have the engine replaced at overhaul time. Major change is not as expensive when looked at with the accepted cost of an overhaul/replacement any way. ASTM could also revert the D910 spec. to the earlier versions that did not list a minimum amount of TEL. as it now does. That would allow 94UL to be produced under the existing spec that covered the old grades of 80-91/96-100-100LL (all D910). What that means is no stc. needed just gas and go if the fuel is equal or exceeds the type certificate listed fuel, just like running the 100LL in airplanes not certified with it.

    • Tom Yarsley says

      That 15% of the users you refer to accounts for over three quarters of the consumption of 100LL.

      • Greg W says

        Tom I do not disagree with that. My point was that those users are switching to turbines. When I worked in air-freight we would use probably over 1000 gal. of avgas per day,with Beech 18’s, Piper Chieftains and Cessna 310R’s. That company today does not operate any piston aircraft so that avgas is not being pumped by that company at Pontiac MI, jet-A is instead. The total volume is shrinking and so the many small volume users will narrow the gap in total consumed as compared to the high volume consumer. Fairly simple options exist for avgas, transition takes time and whether any of us like it TEL will go away, avgas being the last big use of it.

      • Kent Misegades says

        That is the old 70/30 myth that has yet to be proven. We studied the FAA registry last year and found factual evidence that over 80% of all registered piston aircraft can run safely and legally on mogas. We have yet to see a single shred of factual evidence that the small percentage of planes that still need 100LL burn the majority of the fuel. This is becoming an old wive’s tale from people opposed to change or those who fear the end of high profits on the sale of avgas. It is myth perpetrated by NATA and GAMA whose members are primarily corporate FBOs and high-end aircraft manufacturers. At the vast majority of GA airports however things look much different. Mogas is not for everyone, and no one claims it is. It will be around though a long time after avgas has disappeared in the U.S., as it has in much of the rest of the world.

  8. John says

    I have no doubt that lead inside a developing human is bad. But no science has even shown has EVER shown how it gets from aircraft fuel tanks to the brains of children.

  9. Dennis Reiley says

    Tetraethyl lead should have been outlawed by the year 2000. There are other additives that will accomplish the same thing. No engine should be manufactured, rebuilt or otherwise sold that requires a fuel with tetraethyl lead.

    • Sloan says

      If you could tell us all what that list of alternates to TEL is, that’d me great. No one else seems to know of a direct replacement.

      • Dennis Reiley says

        I suggest a visit to an autoparts store for any number of brands of additives. A call or letter to the manufacturer should quickly provide the proper mix of their additive to their recommendation of unleaded fuel to boost the octane rating to the needed level. I suggest case purchases of the largest size additive to keep the cost down.

    • Steve says

      There is no measurable lead that is emitted from the exhaust pipes of aircraft. Just because the uninformed don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s a problem. Since we are rendering opinions, tree hugging lib’s should be banned from purchasing anything that is is any way grown, manufactured, derived from, transported by or is in any way supported or made possible by gas or petroleum products.

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