AOPA’s new information tool on fuel

A special message from AOPA President Craig Fuller

September 7, 2010

For almost 20 years, AOPA and other general aviation associations have actively been involved in the issue of un-leading avgas. But this year, the issue took on a new urgency, and a SWAT team of AOPA communications and government relations professionals has focused intently on federal developments that will now likely lead to unleaded avgas in our future. Our focus has been on representing the interests of all our members in regulatory proceedings and keeping you informed.  Most of our work has been behind the scenes, but increasingly, as developments warranted, we’ve stepped up our communications, education, and advocacy on the leaded avgas issue. And with this new ePilot Special Report series, we are taking another step toward keeping you informed and involved in a process that will surely impact all of our flying for years to come.

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This transition process is already complicated—and confusing. Consider the many organizations and factors that will be involved: at least two major federal agencies, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the FAA; possibly Congress; several GA and petroleum industry associations and companies; new fuel and engine technologies; critical safety considerations; economics; and important infrastructure issues.

There are many aspects to this process that will be unclear for some time to come. But some are clear now:

  • 100LL will remain readily available, but there is currently no clear “drop-in” replacement for 100LL;
  • An industry avgas coalition has organized around a Future Avgas Strategy and Transition Plan—that is committed to a process and path that will address the needs of the entire GA fleet;
  • This process toward a single-fuel solution that assures safe operations, meets infrastructure concerns, and affordable economics will take many years.

In this first issue of Getting the Lead Out, we are covering the key issues, the key players, and very recent developments in our EPA comment filing of Aug. 27.  In future issues, we will provide technical notes and timely updates on the avgas transition process. We will also be developing an online archive to track progress and organize fuel-related information—something we think will be very useful in this multi-year effort. 

Please let us know your thoughts and questions. Feel free to e-mail me.