Alternate Fuels: Give Us Your Views
Last week's reports on Continental's new initiatives to cope with the pending demise of 100LL drew a number of comments and queries, especially the diesel project.
As I continue to cover this story, I am becoming aware of an interesting divide. In the industry, some seem to think that the timeline here is long—like about 10 years. So there's a certain don't-worry-be-happy attitude toward the whole thing. Don't go too fast here. The assumption is because things have always moved slowly, they always will. There's an alluring truth to this.
The second camp thinks we're already late in dealing with this threat because it's going to take several years just to get practical and economic solutions in place so that buyers—that's you—can decide what they wish to do. From my visit to Continental last week and projecting a little on that segment of the industry that makes and sells airplanes, I'd put the manufacturers in that opinion block.
One compelling argument for dumping 100LL before any imposed deadline is this: the overhang effect. Are potential buyers nervous enough about the timeline to take a wait-and-see attitude? And is there enough uncertainty to either depress sales or to cause current owners to simply exit GA entirely because they're sick of thinking about it and dealing with it?
In the aviation press, we try to sort through this. And frankly, given that we've been writing sky-is-falling stories about avgas for more than two decades, we do a remarkably crappy job at it. There are too many competing interests and too much glad handing to hope to get a fair picture of what's about to happen.
So, it's time to ask readers to offer their own views. In Monday's edition, we published a survey on alternative fuels and on Continental's diesel initiative. I'd like to encourage readers of this blog to complete the survey and let us know what your views on the topic are.