As described in our March 10 article, it is generally accepted that fuel companies hit the so-called blending wall this past winter, a situation where EPA blending mandates cannot be fulfilled, even if every drop of gasoline contains 10% ethanol by volume. This has unleashed the unintended consequence of RIN (Renewable Identification Number) speculation, as described in this article from the oil industry newsletter Platts.
My co-author, Kent Misegades, recently wrote an article about the confusion of some in airport management about allowing mogas operations on an airport. Sad to say, it isn’t just a few airport managers. There is widespread ignorance about mogas use in aviation that permeates the FAA bureaucracy, the aviation alphabets, aviation media, state aviation departments and especially the auto gasoline industry.
Recently we heard from an exasperated reader from a major general aviation airport in southeastern Texas. Like many of his fellow recreational pilots in the Lone Star state, he had asked his new airport manager for help getting mogas onto the airfield as a means to lower the cost of flying. He had even gone to the effort to find a surplus fuel tank and a supplier of aviation-grade mogas (ethanol-free, 91+ AKI). The response from the airport’s manager is sadly typical of the confusion that remains prevalent in aviation. I have paraphrased this below:
Piper Aircraft announced today that they are working with Airworthy Autogas to test the company’s new aviation-grade mogas in its latest Lycoming-powered aircraft. As described in this press release issued today, “Piper Aircraft Inc. has completed flight tests of a Piper Archer powered by 93 octane premium unleaded automotive gasoline. Piper worked with Airworthy AutoGas LLC, Phoenix, Ariz., to prove the concept in a test flight regime conducted from the company’s Vero Beach manufacturing campus.”
In moves that are largely symbolic, Florida and Maine recently passed laws aimed at providing more ethanol-free options at the pump.
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.