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:
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…]
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.
Early last week my inbox starting filling with breathless news that Innospec, the world’s last producer of Tetraethyllead (TEL), the amazing chemical compound that gives avgas such excellent anti-detonant properties, is planning to end production in 2013.
We recently learned of a renewed effort by the Maine State Legislature to reduce or eliminate altogether the blending of ethanol in gasoline.
One of the positive aspects of dealing with aviation fuels is that concerns are politically bi-partisan among pilots, the media and even among elected officials. A recent example of this is an article on leaded aviation fuel written by Sarah Zhang, a contributing writer for Mother Jones, a magazine that describes itself as “a news organization that specializes in investigative, political, and social justice reporting.”
Over the past few years, a debate has raged over the best way to reduce our dependence on avgas in North America, one of the last places on the planet where leaded fuels remain in use. There are two “camps” of thought.