The aviation industry is slowly headed toward development of an unleaded replacement fuel for avgas-burning piston-powered aircraft, and a recent move by the FAA is an encouraging sign that progress will continue. The FAA recently agreed to open a new Fuels Program Office, according to NATA, that will provide “technical expertise and strategic direction in the planning, management and coordination of activities related to aviation fuels.”
Thirteen aviation groups, including NBAA and GAMA, are firmly supporting continued research by the Department of Defense on the use of biofuels after the Senate Armed Services Committee voted to strip funding for those efforts. By a 13-12 vote last month, Senate committee members are blocking Defense participation in programs to construct biofuel refineries and have prohibited the Pentagon from purchasing renewable biofuels that are more expensive than regular jet fuel.
Delta Air Lines plans to manage the volatile cost of jet fuel by getting into the oil refining business, an airline industry first. On April 30 the carrier said its wholly owned Monroe Energy subsidiary will acquire a refinery complex southwest of Philadelphia from Houston-based Phillips 66 for $180 million.
BP’s oil refinery in Cherry Point, Wash.–which had been closed since February when a critical unit was damaged by fire–is expected to resume production this month after completion of repairs and annual maintenance. The refinery, the third largest on the West Coast, produces more than 200,000 barrels of gasoline and jet fuel a day and supplies the bulk of jet fuel for airports from Seattle to Vancouver, British Columbia. According to industry data provider Argus, the shortfall did not result in any dramatic jet fuel price spikes in the region.
“All of aviation, including general and business aviation, as well as the airlines, is working together really well to continually improve the environment,” NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen declared last month during opening comments on a panel discussion about the European Union’s Emissions Trading Scheme. But he quickly added, “We are also working together to fight wrong-headed environmental regulations that don’t work.”
Environmental group Friends of the Earth filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), charging the agency with failure to respond to its 2006 petition requesting the regulation of lead emissions from GA aircraft under the Clean Air Act. In the petition, the group asked the EPA to rule that emissions from aircraft that burn leaded fuel may pose a threat to public health. According to the group, nearly six years later, there has been no final action from the agency.
The battle over leaded avgas in California took a turn against a coalition of associations representing users, distributors and producers of avgas on October 19 when a U.S. District Court judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by the coalition in an attempt to halt legal action against
While on my way to work a couple of weeks ago, I stopped at a gas station and filled up my car. As I headed back onto the parkway, the engine started running rough and less than two miles later it shuddered to a stop. Knowing the eight years of wear and tear I had put on the car, I sighed as I called the tow truck, believing the grasp of mechanical old age was finally putting its inevitable squeeze on my car and wallet.
Aviation services provider TAC Air has unveiled a new product at NBAA (Booth No. C6927) which the Texarkana, Texas-based company said is aimed at helping flight departments protect themselves against drastic fuel cost fluctuations.
A coalition of FBOs and fuel distributors who sell leaded avgas in California has filed a lawsuit against the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) and the state’s Attorney General in response to a planned lawsuit announced in May over the sale and use of leaded aviation gasoline.