Maine Airport Fears Loss Of Nonethanol Fuel

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Central Maine Airport operator Kristina Wallace told The Morning Sentinel her phone is "ringing off the hook" with calls from pilots who've learned that 87-Octane fuel is about to vanish from the airport. Federal regulations and tax incentives, along with the actions of fuel refiners and distributors in the region, mean that the only 87-Octane fuel provided to the airport will soon come pre-packed with 10-percent ethanol. The airport's fuel distributor says it will run out of ethanol-free fuel in less than two months. Any pilots who've been using it will have to move to the more expensive 100LL, whether the leaded fuel is good for their wallets (or engines) or not.

Wallace told The Sentinel that her airport runs on fuel sales and pilots and the airport have yet to see how the change will play out. A proposed local bill that would have required dealers to offer nonethanol fuels stalled. According to local officials the problem can only be resolved on the federal level. If there is a problem for certain aircraft owners, at least they're not alone. Some boaters and vintage car owners will have to adapt as well. The move to 10-percent ethanol fuel, or E10, is meant to provide cleaner burning fuel to more users, but may push a few aircraft operators in another direction.