Industry efforts to find a replacement for 100LL are expected to intensify now that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released its advance notice of proposed rulemaking regarding the need to eliminate lead from fuel. The ANPRM does not set a date for eliminating the fuel, but invites interested parties to send comments on the issue for the next 60 days. “Converting in-use aircraft/engines to operate on unleaded aviation gasoline would be a significant logistical challenge, and in some cases a technical challenge as well,” the EPA said. The EPA also acknowledged that a joint effort with the FAA will be critical in case engine modifications will need to be developed and certified, AOPA said. “Given the potentially large number of affected aircraft and the potential complexities involved,” the EPA said, “a program affecting in-use aircraft engines would need careful consideration by both EPA and FAA, and the two agencies would need to work together in considering any potential program affecting the in-use fleet.”
AOPA said in a news release on Wednesday that industry advocacy groups have been working for 20 years to identify a viable alternative to 100LL. “The industry stakeholders look forward to continuing their work with the EPA and the FAA on establishing a realistic standard to reduce lead emissions from GA aircraft along a transition timeline which balances environmental benefit with aviation safety, technical feasibility and economic impact upon the GA industry,” AOPA said. AOPA, EAA, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), the National Air Transportation Association (NATA), and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) all signed on to a joint news release about the ANPRM Wednesday afternoon, and all are working together toward a solution to the problem.