Poll: Should We Field Unleaded Fuel Before 2030?


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  1. Why the deadline? Let the MARKET decide–it is consistently better than government regulation and timetables–which have held up offerings from people that have ACTUALLY DONE SOMETHING to address the perceived problem. If government had to write a spec for and address the properties, chemical composition, and efficacy of WATER, THERE WOULD BE A WORLDWIDE SHORTAGE!

  2. The very same things could be said about electric vehicles. Let the market decide. I decided that I didn’t want one, and needed to buy a gasoline engine vehicle before the government took that choice away from me.

  3. This is the mother of all no-brainers! Those of us in the automotive mechanical realm (at least, the more elderly of us) still remember when auto gas was leaded. It was normal to have to change spark plugs every 10,000-12,000 miles. It was normal to have to change oil every 3000 miles. It was normal to have to replace your exhaust system every 2 years, give or take. When the country went with unleaded gas, spark plug intervals immediately doubled and in some cases, tripled! Oil change intervals did the same thing.
    Coupled with improvements to ignition systems and overall design improvements, such as computer-controlled solid-state engine management systems, repetitive maintenance jobs like that have been cut waaaay down. The spark plugs in my car last 100,000 miles or more! I only have to change the oil once yearly.
    All this came about because of unleaded fuel. It’s use results in vastly cleaner running engines, that translate to more reliability and longevity of the engine.
    There are many more advantages that I could cite, but I think most of you will get the message. There is no reason why we should delay this any longer, in my opinion.

    • Agree on all points. We need to get over the ‘transition’ already. How many years has the market failed to deliver on no lead avgas? Now we have a few options we need to get it done. Perhaps by allowing updated fuel farms that formerly carried 100LL to receive grants from the fuel taxes in the aviation Trust.

    • To address some of your comments. Been involved in auto repair since early 1980’s. ASE Master tech with a degree in Auto Technology and college instructor for Automotive Technology and licensed pilot since 1979. To clarify a few points. 100,000 mile spark plugs are not related to unleaded fuel, they are due to the use of Platinum and iridium on the center electrode which does not erode like the older spark plugs. Engine oil change intervals are increased, not necessarily due to unleaded fuel but due to improvements in oil formulation, additives, engine design, improved crankcase scavenging, etc., a lot of advancement in this realm is due to EPA involvement attempting to reduce hazardous waste of used oil and filters. Current engines are incomparably cleaner than engines of 1970’s when leaded fuel was the normal but this not due to the removal of lead so to speak, it is due to stepped advancement in technology in general, such as substantial improvement in controlling mixtures, more so due to continuing improvements of electronics controlling everything rather than carburetors than elimination of leaded fuel. Emission reduction has been an endeavor for decades and continues, it began with PCV systems decades prior to eliminating leaded fuel. Aircraft engines still use drafting like cars of the 1950’s. Exhaust system issues were due to the public being uneducated on the catalytic converter/ The public continued to pump leaded fuel into cars equipped with converters. Total elimination of unleaded fuel along with improvements in converter techology resolved this, the issue was when both fuels were available and folks wanted to save 10 cents a gallon. Lead contamination destroys converters. While I agree that removing lead was one step leading to emission improvement, it was not the one item that took the automobile to where it is today. Technology is still improving and cars of today will as look antiquated as cars of the 1980’s 20 years from now. A lot of chains around aircraft engine technology have been put in place due to legal action that manufacturers have experienced and general concern to change what has previously worked. That’s the stumbling block, IMO. No one wants to assume the risk of being early to market for any changes. If we could remove the legal and bureaucratic tangles, currently available technology may advance quickly into aircraft powerplants. Good solutions have been proven by advancement in automotive technology, they need to be adapted to improve aircraft engine power, emissions and economy. It can be done.

  4. Larry, I appreciate your education and experience, however you’re wrong. A few examples, the Rotax oil change interval depends on whether or not you use 100 low lead. If he use 100 low lead you change your oil twice as frequently. More conventional aircraft engines are probably even worse due to more blowby. My Lycoming, it’s not unusual to have 1/2 of a percent lead in the oil analysis. We are unable to use modern synthetic oil, as it won’t keep the lead in suspension, so our oil changes, are partially driven by the need to drain the mixture before sludge forms. Spark plugs? Sure, some of the improvements are in materials, but when was the last time you had to clean the spark plugs in your Ford? How about never versus every 50 hours? Reading your narrative reminded me of the medical “professionals” that argued cigarettes were good for you.

    • I am referring to automotive engines, not rotax or aircraft engines of which I am not an expert. The point is that removal of lead is only one step that was/can be taken towards improvement, as it was in automobiles. I am not against removing lead from aircraft engine fuel. The delay is lack of enthusiasm to accept change and potential consequences for those who bring the product to market. Everything I stated above is correct. Spark plug service was common with unleaded fueled automobiles until the adoption of platinum and iridium, which only became mainstream in the 2000’s. Unleaded fuel began phase out in 1970’s and was last sold for passenger automobiles in 1986.

  5. If we are worried about competition, the best thing to do is release the new fuel to the market now! Nothing drives competition more than something that is already on the market.
    Keeping it bottled up just delays the inevitable incentive to compete.