Pilots in southeastern Washington are enjoying some of the least expensive aviation fuel in the country since lead-free, ethanol-free 91 AKI autogas recently became available at Martin Field (S95), just outside of Walla Walla.
Pilots living in or flying through the Pensacola, Florida, area have good reason to cheer the news that autogas is now available at the Peter Prince Airport (2R4) in Milton. According to an airport spokeswoman, “We added autogas last summer. We are currently selling 93 octane fuel for $3.95 per gallon.” That’s $1.20 less than leaded avgas at the same airport and great news for the 70%-80% of all piston engine aircraft that can burn lead-free autogas, an FAA-approved fuel since 1982.
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.
In what is sure to provide more fodder for the ongoing debate over the future of leaded avgas, the Children’s Environmental Health Initiative, at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment in Durham, N.C., recently released a study “A Geospatial Analysis of the Effects of Aviation Gasoline on Childhood Blood Lead Levels”. In this research, authored by Marie Lynn Miranda, Rebecca Anthopolos and Douglas Hastings, the blood levels in children living near airports in six of North Carolina’s counties were investigated.
On Dec. 31, 2011, the 45 cent per gallon federal “blender credit” for ethanol finally ended with little fanfare, as described in this article from U.S. News.
Since fuel producers are still required to meet the RFS ethanol mandates in EISA 2007, the end to the credits will have no effect on the continued adulteration of our nation’s gasoline supply that also renders much of gasoline useless as an aviation fuel.
Some of the best energy news in recent years is the discovery of massive oil and gas reserves in the Bakken and Marcellus fields, among others. Thanks to advances in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (fracking), deposits once thought unprofitable have now created an economic boom in Montana, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and other places where it is being used. In the long term, this can only lead to greater reserves, lower world prices for crude oil, and lower prices for aviation fuel.
In the short term however, airport managers in these regions are reporting brisk business.
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, [Read more...]
The FAA’s Unleaded Avgas Transition Aviation Rulemaking Committee (UAT-ARC), a group made up of aviation and oil industry representatives that is searching for an unleaded replacement for 100LL, met again this past December. Thanks to Lee Buechler of the Clean 100 Octane Coalition, minutes from this meeting are now available online. Two excerpts from these minutes are especially interesting: [Read more...]