Environmental Group Says California FBOs Will Be Able To Continue Selling 100LL


The lawyer for a California environmental group says a court settlement that will mandate the sale of G100UL avgas will not necessarily prevent FBOs from also selling 100LL. Mark Todzo, who represents the Center for Environmental Health, clarified part of his December 2023 letter to FBOs and fuel distributors informing of the imminent commercial availability of G100UL. In that letter Todzo said G100UL “can and should serve as a lower lead replacement for the 100LL fuel you are presently distributing” but told AVweb the agreement does not expressly stop fuel businesses from selling 100LL also. “They just need to make [G100UL] available for sale.”

George Braly, whose company General Aviation Modifications Inc. developed the unleaded fuel, is also a lawyer and said his reading of the consent agreement is that it compels the businesses and distributors to sell the fuel with the lowest lead content available. He said it says nothing about them being able to sell anything else. Regardless of the legal semantics, Braly said practical considerations will exclude 100LL from most airports in the state. He said the vast majority of fuel sellers have only one gasoline tank and pump. Adding a second tank will cost between $800,000 and $1.5 million, and getting all the permits and approvals will take up to three years. Vitol Aviation, which is making the fuel under license, intends to have it commercially available to California distributors and sellers in the first half of this year.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


  1. You’re right, Mr. Russ Niles. The statement that ” a court settlement that will mandate the sale of G100UL avgas will not necessarily prevent FBOs from also selling 100LL” is, IMHO, a true fallacy, once the costs for FBOs to immediately dispose the necessary hardware to sell G100UL alongside with the maintenance of the equipment to sell 100LL, will imply that they could afford such a burden.

  2. I’ve talked to my home airport management about this. They certainly can’t afford to put another tank for UL fuel in the fuel farm unless someone else pays for it. A less expensive alternative is a separate 100UL fuel truck. They won’t buy 100UL fuel unless they are sure they can sell it. Right now I’m the only owner with an aircraft based at the airport who has purchased the GAMI G100UL STC. This is sort of a stalemate situation. Until enough owners buy the STC, the FBO won’t buy the fuel. Owners don’t want to pay for the STC unless the UL fuel is available and they can no longer get 100LL or it’s more expensive than 100UL. The only way out of this that I can see is for the FAA to subsidize the leasing of additional UL fuel trucks and UL fuel purchases through the Airport Improvement Fund and for local governments to up the tax on 100LL until it is more expensive than 100UL. Complete removal of 100LL would be a safety problem but an economic incentive to switch to 100UL would not harm safety. It’s within the FAA’s power to open up G100UL to owners without an STC. That would accelerate the switch to 100UL. But first 100UL has to be available and that’s going to take a while.

    • Andrew, This is not an FAA problem. Why should the FAA pay for yet another California problem? Why should we, in the rest of the country, pay for it? Let California or Gav Newsom pay for it.

      • Agreed. But if the FAA was safely able to allow plans to use 100UL without individual STCs, that would go a long way to advancing the adoption of no-lead aviation fuel – which would eliminate the proven false claims of airport vicinity lead contamination used by those seeking to close GA airports.

      • The campaign against 100ll is based on nothing but FUD, but FUD has carried the day–especially in California. The fate of 100ll was sealed long ago (10-15 years) when the alphabet groups decided not to EPA’s manipulation of air studies and data that ultimately became the basis for the EPA endangerment finding.

        The transition to unleaded fuel emphatically IS an FAA problem because the FAA failed to assert federal preemption to stop Santa Clara County from banning sales of 100ll. Similarly, the consent decree in California involved a handful of FBOs and distributors. All other parties and users who are affected were left out of the process, not the least of which is the Federal agency charged with regulating all things aviation for the whole country.

        Aviation fuel needs to be regulated at the Federal level, not in a patchwork of state and local regulations that undermine the national airspace system and make it impossible for airplanes to cross political boundaries within the “United” States.

        The FAA should have intervened in the California case and asserted federal preemption over California’s Proposition 65. It’s probably not too late for them to do attack the consent decree on that basis, should any attempt be made to enforce the consent decree before an unleaded 100 octane fuel is commercially available on reasonable terms and in quantities stable and sufficient to fuel the nation.

        It’s past time for the Federal Government to rein-in California’s de facto setting of environmental standards for the whole country. California’s regulations are not just an economic drag, they are a burden on interstate commerce and, ultimately, on the right to travel among the states. What better place to start than preempting California’s attempt to ban aviation fuel?

        The FAA subsidized ADS-B hardware installations for aircraft owners–and there were actual, tangible benefit to owners for having ADS-B. If the the public wants to ban 100ll despite the lack of public health impact, then the taxpayers should pay for it. Let the Government buy GAMI’s patents and have the FAA issue STCs to all aircraft owners, or let the FAA reimburse aircraft owners for the cost of the STCs.

    • What you are describing is human nature. When you have a stalemate, a forcing action is required to move ahead. In this case forcing the availability of G100UL is required to make the aircraft owners buy the STC to get fuel to fly their aircraft. The economics of only having one AVGAS tank is helpful in making the forcing action work quickly. STCs are a regulatory mechanism and the only viable alternate to the PAFI/EAGLE “process” that will take another 10-years (when was the last time the FAA finished something on time?). You will have the same problem switching to the EAGLE/ASTM solution until there is some FAA blanket STC or congressional deceleration that legally equates the UL fuels to the 100LL required by type certificates.

    • After all the upfront effort and expense that GAMI put into developing G100UL, rather than decreeing that the STC isn’t needed, it seems like it would be more just for the feds to pay GAMI for the cost of the STC’s for all eligible aircraft. Maybe it should come out of the EPA’s budget instead of the FAA’s. Either way, I suspect it would require a Congressional appropriation. (I know, I know, dream on!)

  3. “The top nine most terrifying words in the English Language are: I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” Ronald Reagan, News Conference August 12, 1986. If the people running government airports had any common sense and backbone, the headline hear would read “California FBOs Say Environmental Group Will Be Able To Continue Peddling Fake News, but Otherwise will be Ignored”

    • What Reagan neglected to point out in this statement is the fact that, here in the US, we have government by the people, for the people and of the people. Government is all of us. Reagan got lots of things wrong.

        • Every person in government is a citizen of the United States and are equally subject to all the laws and regulations imposed by the government. So, I think it actually does work that way. I think too often people equate it with the desire to agree with every single action of the government, and that is (a) functionally impossible, and (b) very much counter to how the system works. Representative government is predicated on compromise. You want one thing, I want the other. We agree to disagree and work out a solution that is a compromise of the two sides.

      • Rob, wake up. The EPA (and the ATF and DoJ and other agencies) are all UN-ELECTED and make “policies” instead of law. That’s the problem. Unelected people are removing freedoms and there is zero you can do about it.

        • Welcome to representative democracy. I for one am grateful for all the EPA has done through the years.

  4. I have a question. When renewing insurance, some insurers (maybe most or all) ask if the airplane has any STCs. How will insurance companies respond to declarations that you have an STC for a non-industry standard approved fuel? I think that this is different from MOGAS STCs as those engines were originally certified for leaded 80/87 Octane. Have the insurers already issued some statement about this?

  5. Consent agreements are an underhanded way for the state and environmental groups to collude and screw over the actual affected parties. This is a good example.

    • It doesn’t look like the State of California was a party to this lawsuit. It was based on Proposition 65, and that was voted into law by the people, so I’m not sure that “underhanded” applies.

  6. So using this reasoning, they could technically comply with the regulations by having a 10 gallon jerrycan of G100UL “available for sale” priced at $10,000 per gallon. Nobody is going to buy it, but it’s technically “available for sale” and therefore they are in compliance.

    • They’d be missing a lot of sales to LSA Rotax equipped aircraft, which are increasing in numbers all the time.

      • No need to over-price the G100UL; just add an invisible “service surcharge” to maintain the jerrycan, shaker siphon hose, and staff. No self-service, obviously. At some point, those LSA fillups might justify the purchase of a 55gal drum with a hand pump!

        But Scott is correct, and this is hardly the only example of the unexpected (although predictable) consequences of such mandates, however well-intentioned they may be.

  7. I think what people are missing here is, I don’t think anyone has to install new underground tanks in order to start selling 100UL. They merely need a fuel truck which can be acquired at minimal cost.

    As I read it, all this court settlement does is initiate broader distribution of unleaded fuel. Eliminating leaded fuel is necessary anyway. This is just a strong step forward to that end.

    • It’s nice to know you exist at the financial level that permits you to consider the six-figure purchase of a fuel truck, the operation and maintenance of which will also represent an ongoing & significant negative financial drain for the typical small FBO, as being a “minimal cost”.

  8. Mr. Rob Honeycutt,

    I Worked at William J Fox Airfield in LA county. Many times you need to drop fuel from trucks into storage tanks to perform maintenance on fuel trucks, ie., to change filters, service the PTO…etc. And there is no such thing as a “minimal cost fuel truck”. The required $$ permits and $$ inspections by rules and regulations to keep that truck in service is $$$$.

    Anyway….99% of the lead has been removed from 100LL. There is no environmental threat from 100LL. The real benifit is to eliminate tetraethyl lead, TEL, from aviation fuel which greatly reduces the deposites on the exhaust valve stem and spark plugs. The deposites are primarily lead, carbon, bromine, and oxygen, AKA, lead oxybromide. I’ve experienced a sticking exhaust valve in my Harmon Rocket in which the lead is the culprit to the sticking valve. But when the price of the 100UL is estimated to be $0.65 too a buck higher than 100LL I’ll chose the 100LL. Most GA flyers for pleasure are hanging on the fine thread of affordability. When you state, “This is just a strong step forward to that end” you may be calling the end to many GA flyers. This is not a cavalier decision. Many aviators will be harmed by this rule. And the crux of the matter is this rule is based on bad science, a false premise ignorant people, and politics.

    And the comments above about unelected bureaucrats making our hard life decisions is absolutely right. There is little or no representation of the citizen in our government. We used to be a republic. That horse ran out of the barn years ago. Ronald Regan was right!! Thanks for your comments though.

    • Bureaucrats did not bring this lawsuit, and it was based on Proposition 65, which was voted into law by the citizens.

  9. Hello Richard

    Your talking about authors Tom Hayden (a known communist) and Jane Fonda (NVA sympathizer and communist). Prop 65 came to the ballot and passed in 1986. Tom Hayden held seats in the Ca state Assembly from 1982 – 1992 and Ca State Senate, 1992 – 2002. And around that time, that was the beginning of the end of California!!! NEVER underestimate the stupidity of the California voter in regards to their ability to read a proposition and then connect the dots. And it was as good as a legislative act composed by a chief bureaucrat.

  10. Perhaps the issue comes down to this:
    There are more and more groups that have been looking for a reason to shut down airports, like in Colorado recently. The sale of leaded fuel is becoming the primary reason and justification for their position on this.
    It doesn’t matter whether or not we can prove there is no damage caused by lead emissions; the EPA has ruled and the groups can point to that.

    Like it or not, we need to bite the bullet and go UL, as soon as we can, if we want to keep our airports open.