Leaded Avgas Issue Moving To Front Burner

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A notice from the Environmental Protection Agency concerning the future of 100LL is expected to be published within the next few weeks, EAA's Doug Macnair, vice president for government relations, told AVweb on Tuesday. The advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, or ANPRM, has already gone through the Office and Management of Budget, and publication in the Federal Register is the next step. According to the EPA Web site, the notice's regulatory review has been concluded and publication is projected for sometime this month. "This action will describe the lead inventory related to use of leaded avgas, air quality and exposure information, additional information the Agency is collecting related to the impact of lead emissions from piston-engine aircraft on air quality and will request comments on this information," according to the EPA Web site. The ANPRM is not expected to set a final date for the end of 100LL, but will likely seek input from the industry and the public to develop a transition plan so the fuel can be phased out, Macnair said.

The ANPRM publication is expected to energize efforts to address the lingering issue of finding a viable replacement for 100LL, which has been a topic of concern in the GA world for two decades or more. A lot of input from advocacy groups and manufacturers will have to be worked through to come up with a consensus standard and produce a fuel that will reliably meet the needs of general aviation airplanes, Macnair said. "It's going to be a painful process," he added. "There's no way around it." Plenty of contenders are already at work on a solution, including Swift Fuel, General Aviation Modifications (GAMI) and some engine and airframe manufacturers. The EPA has said it would like to see leaded fuel phased out as early as 2017, EAA's Earl Lawrence said in a February update. The issue was a topic of discussion last November at the AOPA Summit, and with the publication of the ANPRM, activity toward finding an alternative is expected to intensify in the coming season. AOPA, EAA, GAMA, NBAA and other aviation advocacy groups already have been at work on the issue as well.