The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced its final determination on high octane low lead aviation gasoline (Avgas 100LL). The finding confirms plans to define a pathway that will ultimately enable a safe transition to a lead-free replacement.
According to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) executive director for aircraft certification service, Lirio Liu, testing on lead-free replacements is still ongoing, plus time allocated for public consultation, the process is likely to take at least two years.
A statement from EPA said: “EPA and FAA have already begun work to consider regulatory options to address lead emissions from aircraft engines and will announce timelines as soon as possible. EPA and FAA will work in partnership and engage all interested stakeholders and the general public as the two agencies develop their separate regulatory actions,”
What has been assured is that regulators are committed to ensuring the continued availability of 100LL until a safe and practical replacement can be rolled out market-wide, underlining the point that aviation safety takes precedence over the quick removal of 100LL.
Separate from EPA’s endangerment finding, in support of the objective to remove lead from aviation gasoline, in early 2022, the FAA and industry announced the programme Eliminate Aviation Gasoline Lead Emissions’ (EAGLE). This programme aims to achieve a lead-free aviation system no later than 2030.
The FAA has approved the use of a 100 Octane unleaded fuel (G100UL) that can be widely used by piston-engine fleet, that is not yet commercially available.
The FAA has also approved for use a lower octane fuel (UL 94), currently available at approximately 35 airports in the US, and the FAA is working to expand and streamline the process for eligible aircraft to use this fuel.