BP gives up on cellulosic ethanol

In news that is sure to send shock waves throughout the ethanol industry and the EPA, one of the world’s largest oil companies is shelving plans to produce so-called cellulosic ethanol from non-food plants such as wood chips and switchgrass. As described in an article from the Wall Street Journal, “BP PLC Thursday said it is ending plans to build a commercial-scale cellulosic-ethanol plant in Florida, saying it instead will focus on research and development.”

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Commodities can lower the cost of flying

Commodities, by one definition, are “mass-produced unspecialized products.” Typical traded commodities include grain, coffee, sugar, pork bellies, feeder cattle, industrial and precious metals, natural gas and oil. They are produced worldwide in enormous quantities, resulting in most cases in far lower real costs than a century ago when limitations to transportation and political barriers to trade restricted producers to their own local markets.

For many years, aircraft manufacturers have made use of some of these commodities, [Read more…]

Fuel prices – How high will they go?

Mogas

With vehicle fuel prices surging across the country, pilots are also feeling the pain at the airport pump, with the price for a gallon of  avgas averaging more than $6 in every region, as reported by the website 100LL.com. According to statistics reported by AirNav.com, average prices for Jet-A remain about 50 cents lower, while mogas is a whopping $1.50 less than avgas.

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Self-service saves

Being well into the second half-century of my life, I vividly recall how, in 1973, the OPEC oil embargo, knee-jerk government-imposed price controls and the subsequent shortage of gasoline wreaked havoc on our nation’s economy. On my 16th birthday of that year, Nov. 6, I soloed an airplane for the first time at the late, great Kentucky Flying Service on Bowman Field, Louisville, Ky., where I happily slaved each weekend as a line boy to earn the $20 required for an hour and a half of dual in a C150.

Although the hourly rates for flying remained fairly stable over the next year, the cost of gas needed to get to the airport started cutting into my meager funds, stressed further when I discovered girls. With the appearance of the first “Hep-er-Sef” self-service gas stations, bringing significant cost savings, things started looking up for this plane-crazy teenager.

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Ethanol under fire, on fire

Ethanol producers have found themselves under more pressure than ever in recent months, with numerous efforts afoot to grant waivers or even repeal the Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) production mandates encompassed in the EISA 2007 Act that have resulted in the nearly complete adulteration of our nation’s fuel supply in recent years. The latest drought in corn-producing states is contributing to the rise in gas prices at the pump and a war of words between leaders of corn-producing states and those where its use as feed for livestock is pinching profits and adding more woes onto the already fragile budgets of many American households.

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Unleaded to Oshkosh

FuelExhibit

The dust has literally settled in Oshkosh, and there was a good deal of it on the first days of AirVenture 2012 when high temperatures and winds turned the headquarters of U2OSH — Unleaded to Oshkosh — into a blast furnace. A last minute mix-up (EAA had double-booked our space with Beechcraft) forced a move onto Celebration Way, which turned out to be a good location, directly on the main route of travel between the exhibit’s entrance and Phillips66 square. Many members of the Aviation Fuel Club found us and registered for the event, receiving a special decal and T-shirt commemorating the 30th anniversary of the FAA’s approval of the first autogas STC during Oshkosh 1982.

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