Ethanol repeal efforts make progress

Further evidence that consumers demand an ethanol-free alternative has been provided in recent weeks by actions at both state and federal levels. As reported by this blog on Feb. 20, Florida State Representative Matt Gaetz has led an effort to repeal his state’s mandates on the use of ethanol blends in vehicles.

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AERO 2013: A clear signal on fuels

Panthera. Illustration courtesy Pipistrel

As was the case when I reported from the great AERO Friedrichshafen show last year, judging from the latest generation of engines and aircraft on display this year, Europeans have put the issue of leaded avgas behind them. Once again, all of the new engines on display operate on lead-free, ethanol-free mogas or Jet-A, either in diesel pistons or small turbines. What’s more, smaller diesel engines are starting to emerge, great news for light aircraft designers.

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We’ve hit the wall

blending-wall

Exactly as your bloggers have predicted the past several years, according to industry experts, we’ve finally hit the ethanol blending wall — even if every drop of gasoline produced in the U.S. contained 10% ethanol, the federally-mandated blending quotas cannot be met.  As the energy industry’s leading news service Platts reported this past week:

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Consequences and public funding

While reading “Inclined to Liberty” by Louis E. Carabini, it struck me that chapter 29, The Hazard of Equalizing Consequences, describes what one often sees at publicly-funded general aviation airports in my home state of North Carolina.

Taj Mahal-like, LEED-certififed terminals bristling with solar panels at rural airstrips where more coyotes walk the ramp than pilots. [Read more...]

Sunset for avgas?

In recent months your bloggers have been contacted by a number of environmental reporters on the issue of leaded aviation fuel, for instance Sarah Zhang of Mother Jones, mentioned in this Jan. 28 posting.  More recently, Rebecca Kessler, a science and environmental journalist based in Providence, R.I., published an article titled “Sunset for Leaded Aviation Gasoline?” in Environmental Health Perspectives, which  according to its website is “a monthly journal of peer-reviewed research and news published with support from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.” Over the course of the past three months, Kessler did her homework well, contacting many individuals involved in this issue, including your bloggers. As with Sarah Zhang’s article, we believe that she has provided an accurate, balanced portrayal of the various aspects of the replacement of leaded avgas, and we commend her on her work.