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Fri, Feb 27, 2004

EAA Works To Preserve Ethanol Labels At Autogas Stations

Wisconsin Assembly Proposed End to Labeling at Gas Pumps 

The EAA reports that it recently worked with the Wisconsin Ethanol Producers to help craft a compromise bill that ensures retail gas stations continue to inform customers of their use of gasoline with ethanol additives. As noted on the EAA website, State Assembly Bill 675 seeks to remove a requirement that gas stations label their pumps with the percentage of ethanol, unless the device dispenses reformulated gasoline at an airport for use as aircraft fuel. EAA, which holds a series of FAA supplemental type certificates (STC) that provide the right to allow aircraft owners to use auto fuels, argued that clear labeling was needed regarding ethanol in automotive gasolines for flight safety reasons.

"All of the current automotive gasoline STCs specifically exclude any gasoline that contains ethanol," said Earl Lawrence, EAA vice president of regulatory & industry affairs. "Most auto fuel used in aircraft is purchased at a local service station, not at an airport. And most users of automotive gasoline purchase their fuel from only one station, a station that they learn from experience provides a safe fuel for their aircraft. Under the original proposed legislation, stations could switch to an ethanol blend gasoline without the knowledge of the aircraft owner, or any consumers."

The compromise language proposed by EAA and agreed to by WEP reads: "A retail dealer of petroleum products shall post in a conspicuous place and in a conspicuous manner on or near the entrance to the filling station, garage, or other place where the petroleum products are being offered for sale a notice stating, for each device that dispenses petroleum products, whether the device dispenses a gasoline-ethanol fuel blend and the grade of the petroleum product being dispensed."

Since aircraft first started to use automotive gasoline (1982), there have been many changes to the formulation of the fuels, requiring EAA to continually track the fuel formulations and test to ensure safety in aircraft use. EAA has tested many different blends of fuels over the years, most recently the oxygenate additives, ETBE, MTBE and Ethanol. FAA's Technical Research Center, Atlantic City, New Jersey, and the Cessna Aircraft Corporation have also conducted parallel independent tests on oxygenated fuels. In all of these tests it has been found that automotive fuels oxygenated with ethanol are not compatible with aircraft use. Multiple issues with gasolines oxygenated with ethanol in aircraft use include vapor lock and material compatibility issues.

FMI: www.eaa.org

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