In the May 15, 2014 EAA Hotline email there was an interesting article in the Member Benefit Spotlight section. It reported the results of a Fuel Survey purportedly taken in March by the Experimental Aircraft Association with 13,000 replies by members. The findings were rather interesting: 87% of members are using primarily 100LL and 12% are using autogas.
As I digested this finding, a pertinent question came to mind: If 12% of members are tenacious enough to use mogas when only 3% of our airports carry mogas, why didn’t EAA ask the membership: “How many members would use mogas if it was as available at the 3,000+ airports that carry 100LL?”
The other principal finding was actually a marketing ploy: “73% of members fill up at self-serve pumps and the majority (58%) would like to see EAA offer a discount program tied to a fuel card.”
I find in incongruous that EAA members wanted a “… discount program tied to a fuel card …” but didn’t ask EAA to support mogas fuel infrastructure at airports, a program that would produce significant fuel savings, to say nothing of reducing aviation’s lead footprint.
The final conclusion made it obvious that this “poll” was really masking a marketing ploy: “We’re also working with FBOs encouraging them to offer fuel discounts to people flying to AirVenture Oshkosh and we have more in the works!”
The one effective “… more in the works!” that EAA could work on would be to convince the FBOs at the Oshkosh airport to make mogas available. It is the ultimate irony that there are 17 airports throughout Wisconsin that provide mogas, but the airport where EAA, the father of the mogas STC, has its headquarters and hosts AirVenture does not offer mogas to the thousands of aircraft that fly in for the annual event.
If EAA were serious about reducing fuel costs for its members and reducing the lead footprint of general aviation, it would support mogas infrastructure upgrades on our airports instead of trying to market its co-branded Visa card as a fuel discount card that only profits EAA.
Hopefully, next year’s Fuel Survey will be an honest poll to not only find out how EAA members are fueling their aircraft, but also how they would react if a more diverse fuel choice was available and what they are planning to do if 100LL suddenly disappears before the vaunted unleaded 100 octane replacement fuel is found.