The general aviation industry has had almost three decades of warning that leaded Avgas would someday be phased out due to regulatory actions. Is that day here? Let’s look at recent developments.
In April 2010 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) related to lead in aviation gasoline (Avgas). The EPA says that it understands the complexity of the issue and has issued this ANPR to give the general aviation industry the opportunity to provide comment and suggest solutions to the transition from leaded to unleaded fuel for general aviation aircraft.
In response to this ANPR, the industry has formed a coalition to address the issues of finding a replacement for leaded avgas. This coalition is comprised of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), the National Air Transport Association (NATA), and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA). These organizations along with the FAA are working together to develop a plan for the transition from leaded aviation gasoline to a fuel that is acceptable to the EPA. The ANPR has driven some general aviation fuel suppliers and users into panic mode. The coalition is working to minimize that panic by taking a proactive approach to finding solutions that will not compromise safety, that will minimize the impact of any new, unleaded avgas on the existing general aviation fleet, and that will be cost effective. There will be no quick and easy solutions.