The Future of AvGas

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The Future of Avgas

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has formally begun the regulatory process required by the Clean Air Act that may ultimately result in standards mandating the industry’s transition from leaded aviation gasoline (avgas) to unleaded aviation gasoline. NBAA is part of a coalition of stakeholders that is seeking an approach that addresses concerns about safety, cost, availability and ease of production. The coalition is committed to finding the best and safest alternative to 100 low lead fuel that supports the mobility and growth of general aviation (GA).

NBAA, Others Support FAA’s Budget Request to Continue Testing of Avgas Replacements

March 10, 2015
Seven aviation associations, including NBAA, sent a letter last week to Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-25-FL), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations, seeking his support for the FAA’s fiscal year 2016 budget request of $6 million for NextGen – Alternative Fuels for General Aviation (GA). “The purpose of this endeavor is to address the complex transition of the existing GA piston fleet, comprised of more than 200,000 aircraft, to an unleaded fuel,” the letter states. “ Investment in this program this year and continuing through FY 2018 is essential to ensuring that the transition effectively balances environmental improvement with aviation safety, technical challenges, and economic impact.” Read the full letter.

FAA To Begin Initial Testing of Unleaded Aviation Fuels

Sept. 10, 2014
NBAA welcomed the FAA’s decision to begin initial testing this fall of four unleaded aviation fuels at the agency's William J. Hughes Technical Center near Atlantic City, NJ. The laboratory tests, which will evaluate two fuels developed by Swift Fuels, one by Shell and one by TOTAL, are expected to be completed by the fall of 2015. The fuels being tested were suggested by the Piston Aviation Fuels Initiative (PAFI), which is a joint industry-government effort to facilitate the development and deployment of unleaded aviation fuels for piston-engine general aviation (GA) aircraft. NBAA is a member of the PAFI Steering Committee. Learn more about the new, potential aviation fuels.

Nine Potential Avgas Replacements Submitted to FAA

July 18, 2014
The FAA announced that nine potential replacement fuel proposals for 100 low-lead (100LL) aviation fuel were submitted for consideration by the agency ahead of a July 1 deadline. NBAA is part of a coalition of groups participating in the Piston Aviation Fuels Initiative (PAFI), a joint industry-government effort to facilitate the development and deployment of unleaded aviation fuels for piston-engine GA aircraft. "We are very pleased to see the PAFI achieve this milestone, on schedule, as it continues through a highly structured process to identify and develop an unleaded avgas solution," said Eli Cotti, NBAA director, technical operations. "While it is still very early in this program, the group’s progress to date would appear to support the current timetable for deployment fleet-wide of one or more unleaded 100LL alternatives by the 2018 deadline." Read more about the potential avgas replacements.

NBAA Commends U.S. House Committee for Fueling General Aviation’s Future

May 25, 2014
The U.S. House Appropriations Committee last week approved funding to support the transition to unleaded aviation gasoline (avgas) for piston-engine aircraft, and NBAA commends the committee for its support of the fuel that is critical to general aviation’s future. The committee approved $6 million to fund the transition from today’s leaded aviation gasoline (100LL) to an unleaded aviation gasoline now being researched. This funding, when it receives final approval, will sustain the transition’s multi-year path to operational deployment. Read more about the funding.

Environmental Groups Want Early Release of EPA Report on Leaded Fuels

May 2, 2014
Less than one month after a U.S. District Court ruled that the EPA must have sufficient time to prepare a report on the public health effects of lead emissions from GA aircraft, environmental groups have filed a petition seeking to overturn the decision and force the early release of that data. NBAA’s Chief Operating Officer Steve Brown noted that the environmental groups’ ultimate goal is to reverse the EPA’s decision to maintain the availability of 100LL while pursuing a safe and responsible process in seeking unleaded fuel alternatives, adding that the government and the industry are working together to find alternative fuels. Read more about the petition.

GA Avgas Coalition Praises FAA's Announcement to Solicit Candidate Fuels in Search of an Unleaded Avgas

June 10, 2013
The General Aviation Avgas Coalition praised the FAA’s announcement today to formally request sample unleaded fuels for testing as possible replacements to the 100LL avgas that general aviation aircraft use today. The General Aviation Avgas Coalition, comprised of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), American Petroleum Institute (API), Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), National Air Transportation Association (NATA) and NBAA, noted that the FAA’s move to begin reviewing possible fuels is a significant step in the search for an unleaded aviation gasoline that will perform adequately in all types of general aviation aircraft. Read the NBAA press release.

Court: EPA Cannot Be Forced to Issue Report on 100LL Effects

April 3, 2013
Efforts to find a safe and cost-effective alternative to leaded aviation gasoline were bolstered by a March 27 U.S. District Court ruling that the EPA should not be forced to rush the issuance of its report on the public health effects of lead emissions from general aviation aircraft. The ruling came in response to a March 2012 lawsuit filed by environmental group Friends of the Earth that sought to force the EPA to issue an accelerated endangerment finding on GA emissions. Read more about the lawsuit.

Congressman Calls for Expanded Use of Existing Unleaded Fuels in Piston Aircraft

Nov. 14, 2012
In a recent letter to FAA Acting Administrator Michael Huerta, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA-30) noted that while the agency has determined a timetable to find an alternative to 100 low-lead aviation gasoline, little has been done to encourage use of existing unleaded fuels in the interim. "It is essential for the FAA to develop and implement, in the near term, measures to facilitate the use of currently available unleaded fuel in general aviation," Waxman wrote. Read more about the issue.

GA Avgas Coalition Applauds FAA's Creation of Avgas Fuels Program Office

Sept. 17, 2012
In response to a letter from the industry members of the GA Avgas Coalition urging funding for an unleaded avgas program, the FAA announced the formation of a new Fuels Program Office. The office will be responsible for “providing technical expertise and strategic direction in the planning, management and coordination of activities related to aviation fuels.” This is the next important step in establishing an unleaded avgas transition program that will evaluate the viability of candidate fuels and generate the data needed for fleet-wide aircraft certification and development of a commercial fuel specification. Read the NBAA press release.

California FBOs Use Surcharge to Fight 100LL Lawsuit

Aug. 31, 2012
Costs associated with an ongoing legal battle over the sale of leaded aviation fuel have resulted in additional fees for some California pilots. The issue stems from litigation filed by the Center for Environmental Health claiming environmental damage from the distribution, sale and use of 100LL. The group filed a lawsuit in October 2011 against airport fixed-base operators throughout the state, as well as some major oil producers, identifying the companies as being in violation of California's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act. The significant costs associated with the legal fight led some FBOs to independently recoup a portion of those costs, in the form of an added fee for avgas users. Read more about the legal fight with CEH.

NBAA, Others Call on FAA to Fund Avgas Replacement Efforts

Aug. 4, 2012
A coalition of leading U.S. GA associations, including NBAA, recently called on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to support additional funding for research into a feasible, drop-in replacement for leaded aviation fuel. The letter, signed by the leaders of five GA advocacy groups, followed an earlier meeting between industry representatives and FAA officials at EAA AirVenture 2012 in Oshkosh, WI, to discuss the results of a UAT ARC final report on possible replacements for 100LL avgas. That report, released June 28, included recommendations on how to expedite development and deployment of an alternative fuel for the existing piston-engine aircraft fleet by 2018. Read more about this issue.

NBAA Joins Coalition Supporting Continued DoD Biofuel Research

June 4, 2012
NBAA has joined 12 other aviation groups in supporting continued research by the Department of Defense on the use of biofuels, even as lawmakers have supported stripping funding for those efforts. In a letter to lawmakers, a coalition of aviation groups protested a recent vote to block the department's participation in programs to construct biofuel refineries, which would severely curtail research into the use of biofuels derived from plants such as algae and sugar cane to supplement the use of petroleum-based jet fuel. "It is our collective belief that the ongoing efforts of the United States military on alternative fuels are helping reduce the cost of those alternatives and will ultimately help reduce our reliance on foreign oil," the groups wrote in their May 23 letter. Read more about the coalition's stance.

GA Coalition: Data Needed Before EPA Rules on Low-Lead Fuel

May 2, 2011
In comments submitted last week to the EPA, NBAA and several other groups called upon the EPA to extend the agency's timeline for evaluating whether further restrictions on 100LL avgas are needed. The agency is considering further restrictions as part of a review of national ambient air quality standards (NAAQs). In the comments, NBAA and the other groups note that 100LL "contains 50-percent less lead than it did when the lead NAAQs were first introduced," and that "changes to lead monitoring requirements in 2010 will provide important new data on lead emissions, but not until at least 2012." The coalition wants EPA to extend its review timeline so that the new data can be included. Review the comments.

NBAA Welcomes FAA Advisory Committee on Unleaded Fuel

Feb. 4, 2011
NBAA welcomed a new FAA Aviation Rulemaking Committee on the proposed phase-out of 100LL avgas, the fuel that powers almost all 150,000 piston-engine aircraft in the U.S. "We're committed to finding an acceptable answer to this challenge," said Eli Cotti, NBAA Director, Technical Operations. "It's a very complex problem, in part because aviation safety cannot be compromised." Learn more about NBAA’s work on the avgas issue.

NBAA Business Aviation Insider: GA Industry United on Avgas Replacement Issue

Sept. 10, 2010
An advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) issued in April by the EPA targeting avgas raised concerns within the GA industry that the agency might mandate a phase-out of the fuel that powers nearly all piston-engine aircraft. With no viable alternative fuel available, more than 150,000 reciprocating-engine aircraft in the U.S. could be grounded. Review the article.

NBAA Flight Plan: GA Community United on Avgas Issue

Sept. 7, 2010
The general aviation community has worked in a united front in responding to government officials’ exploration of alternatives for 100 low lead fuel. NBAA is part of a coalition of GA and petroleum industry stakeholders that seeks to address concerns about cost, availability and ease of production. Steve Brown, NBAA senior vice president of operations and administration, and Rob Hackman, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association vice president of government relations, talk about the progress the group is making in this week’s episode of the NBAA Flight Plan podcast.
Listen now.NBAA Flight Plan podcast

NBAA, Industry Coalition Comments on Avgas Alternative Search

September 3, 2010
On August 27, NBAA and other general aviation associations submitted joint comments to the EPA about the search for an unleaded replacement for 100 low lead fuel. An EPA proposed rulemaking brought NBAA together with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the Experimental Aircraft Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, the National Air Transportation Association, the American Petroleum Institute, and the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association. Among other findings, the comments note that insufficient data and modeling exist to indicate that lead emissions from GA cause or contribute to any violation of national air quality standards. The comments also reiterate the industry’s long-standing commitment to finding alternatives to leaded fuel. Review the letter.

At AirVenture, GA Groups Discuss AvGas Future

August 2, 2010
During a panel discussion of GA group leaders at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA's) 2010 AirVenture Oshkosh event last week, NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen told attendees that the GA community is well coordinated and making progress in its efforts to work with government officials on the issue of alternatives for 100 low lead fuel. "It is critically important that we in general aviation continue to work together on this issue, and because of the joint commitment from the community, there has been visible progress made on the matter," Bolen said. NBAA is part of a coalition of stakeholders that are seeking an approach that addresses concerns about cost, availability and ease of production. Learn more about the recent discussion on aviation gas.

NBAA, Others Providing Industry Voice on Avgas Replacement

June 28, 2010
NBAA welcomed a recent decision by the EPA granting an extension to the comment period for its advance notice of proposed rulemaking calling for industry input on alternatives to avgas (100 low lead) for aircraft. The extension comes as representatives with NBAA and other general aviation organizations met recently with policymakers in Congress and at the FAA on the issue, and conducted a webinar press briefing for aviation reporters. NBAA is part of a coalition of stakeholders that is pressing for an approach to avgas alternatives that addresses concerns about cost, availability and ease of production. For more information, visit:

NBAA Part of Coalition on Government’s Avgas Planning

June 10, 2010
NBAA and a coalition of general aviation leaders, including the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, and others have been responding to the government’s call for eliminating lead in aviation fuel with a coordinated effort to minimize the industry’s emissions footprint while supporting the mobility and growth of general aviation. The coalition recently sent a letter requesting an extension to an EPA request for alternatives to lead in fuel. Review the letter.

NBAA, Others Answer EPA’s Call for Unleaded Fuel Plan

April 26, 2010
The EPA last week issued an ANPR calling for ideas for transitioning to an unleaded fuel for general aviation avgas. In its ANPR, the EPA acknowledged: "Converting in-use aircraft/engines to operate on unleaded aviation gasoline would be a significant logistical challenge, and in some cases a technical challenge as well." NBAA joined with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Experimental Aviation Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association and National Air Transportation Association in a unified response to the EPA. Review the industry's response.