FAA wants unleaded airplane fuel

The Federal Aviation Administration wants some airplanes to run on the same thing cars have been using for years: cleaner burning unleaded fuel.

The FAA said Monday that it will ask the fuel industry for proposals to develop a new unleaded fuel by 2018 for use by the non-commercial airplanes known as the general aviation fleet.

“General aviation is vital to the U.S. economy and is an important form of transportation for many Americans,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. “We need to work with industry develop an unleaded fuel that advances aviation safety and improves the environment.”  

The unleaded fuel would replace the 100 octane low-lead formula now being used in about 167,000 general aviation planes in the country. The FAA said that fuel is the last of its type in use in the United States that adds tetraethyl lead to boost octane to the level needed for high-performance airplane engines.

The formulas submitted by industry developers will be tested at the FAA’s laboratory near Atlantic City using $5.6 million included in the White House’s 2014 budget.

Ashley Halsey reports on national and local transportation.
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