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  #1  
Old 03-24-2012, 06:40 AM
Skyhawk Skyhawk is offline
 
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Default AVGAS prices in US vs. engine development

Hello
Here in Sweden we currently pay around $12/USG for 100LL, and it is even worse in other places in Europe. You in the US, think about your flying and how such price level would affect you. Glad to read your thoughts about it.

My thoughts goes to the general threat of the enviroment and the "peak oil".
In the car industry in Europe and Asia it's of high priority to develop fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly cars, which there are resources for because of the big market providing this.
The market for general aviation however isn't that big here and is mainly dominated by the USA.
Could it be that the relatively low prices on gas in the states leads to that the development isn't growing in the speed we desire? Lycoming and Continental is the greatest industries for engines, but do they really have the whipping pressure to develope new engines when they have the USA-market secured in the forseeable future?
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Last edited by Skyhawk : 03-24-2012 at 06:43 AM.
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  #2  
Old 03-24-2012, 07:18 AM
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Av8torTom Av8torTom is offline
 
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Default

Hello Skyhawk,

It's an interesting argument - certainly necessity is the mother of invention, but when you look at the economy of the typical RV flying at cruise settings it is more than competitive with some of the most fuel efficient cars - i.e., in terms of miles/gallon.

Our primary focus now and biggest challenge is lead, and developing a fuel source and set of engines that will run on a lead free fuel.

Forget electricity. IMHO, unless you're generating all your electric needs via water or wind, burning coal, gas or oil to generate electricity to power an airplane motor is a false economy (the BTU to power output in an internal combustion engine is more efficient than the BTU to electricity generation to power in a motor). I might make sense now, but wait until internal combustion engines go away and see what happens to the price of electricity. I believe powering your airplane will be just as costly.

Not sure what the answer is - maybe biodiesel?
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  #3  
Old 03-24-2012, 07:32 AM
Skyhawk Skyhawk is offline
 
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Biodiesel sure is an alternative. We have word leading pilot plants here in Sweden that investigates that form of source. But then, we lacks diesel engines! Do we have to wait for the big market (US) demanding diesels to get the big ones (Lyc., Cont.) develope a diesel?
Long wait for us. Not positive for GA.
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  #4  
Old 03-24-2012, 07:35 AM
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Ron Lee Ron Lee is offline
 
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IMO, it is not developing engines that run on unleaded fuel, it is developing an unleaded/less leaded AVGAS that works in the current crop of aircraft engines.

As far as fuel price in Europe, if it is similar to autogas price in some countries, taxes are a major factor in high cost...so fix that and AVGAS becomes more affordable.

Barring government intrusion, free markets work very well. So you would find that my viewpoint on such matters may be mucho different than many Europeans.

100LL just jumped to $5.69 USD a gallon at my airport. That will impact my flying just as the 50-70 cent (USD) increase is autogas is impacting car driving.

It is a fact that I or many other people I know could quickly lower this high cost if we made the decisions at a US national level.
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  #5  
Old 03-24-2012, 07:52 AM
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Av8torTom Av8torTom is offline
 
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Default Yes

Ron,

Yes, I agree with you regarding engines. My point was there are engines now that will run fine on unleaded fuel and engines that will not. For the ones that will not, we can either modify the engine or come up with a suitable fuel.

Sky - as you know, everything in aviation moves at a snails pace. There was just a recent thread here on the subject. There are many reasons for that, including the threat of product liability that occurs when one moves away from a tried and true technology. The future of biodiesel is still quite uncertain in this country. The problem today is that diesel fuel (Jet A) is as, or more expensive, than avgas. If there was a plentiful source of cheap (bio)diesel today, I think you would see many more companies developing diesel engines for GA.

I think to your point, gas, while expensive, is still relatively affordable in this country, and that dulls any incentives to develop new related technologies. I'm afraid until we see $12/gallon not much is going to happen.
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  #6  
Old 03-24-2012, 07:55 AM
Skyhawk Skyhawk is offline
 
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Ron Lee:
Nothing else than spec.ed fuel works with the crop of engines. Otherwise you for sure get some trouble.
We do have bio alternates, ethanol and diesel made with renewable processes. But we lacks engines which can run on it.

Taxes is a major factor for sure, but a cuple of thousand pilots dont have much to say about it. Sadly enough.

Just curious, how much would a doubling of the AVGAS-price affect you in the US and your flying?


Av8torTom:
Oh, here JetA1 is 1/3 as expensive as 100LL.
For sure this is a political issue and nothing we small pilots could do about it.
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Last edited by Skyhawk : 03-24-2012 at 08:02 AM.
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  #7  
Old 03-24-2012, 08:23 AM
MontanaMike MontanaMike is offline
 
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Location: Harrison, ID
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Smile Avgas Prices in US vs. Engine Development

How would doubling of US avgas prices affect our flying? Pretty sure we will find out, sir.

But I am not sure "Go West Young Man" is a realistic solution to your Swedish $12US fuel prices and a new engine design.

Sweden is a historic example of industriousness and innovation, having by Wiki records had 38 automobile manufacturers since 1903, although only Esther, Koenigsegg and Volvo (Saab another story) still exist. In fact Saab as you know was a division of Swedish Aeroplane Limited (Svenska Aeroplan Aktiebolaget).

Saddle up over in Europe and show us what you have. We will think it is cool and buy a mess of them, like we always have.

Mike Bauer
RV6 N918MB O-360 Dual Pmag Steam
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  #8  
Old 03-24-2012, 08:55 AM
Skyhawk Skyhawk is offline
 
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"How would doubling of US avgas prices affect our flying? Pretty sure we will find out, sir."

Sounds easy, whats your recipte?
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  #9  
Old 03-24-2012, 09:35 AM
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az_gila az_gila is offline
 
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The use of lead might be the biggest hazard to avgas in the US given the ongoing lawsuit.

We are dependent on this factory for all of the TEL in the free world...



It's the Catalyst plant in Ellsemere Port on the River Mersey near Liverpool.

I think it's fairly safe to say the 100LL is just about the only refined fuel world-wide that still uses lead.
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  #10  
Old 03-24-2012, 11:02 AM
Peterk Peterk is offline
 
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Default 91 UNL

Apparently they are going to start selling 91 Octane unleaded in Europe...??? Anyway, when they do, I would certainly be interested in how that works out in the high compression Rotax 912ULS. I use 92 in the states all the time. Hard to believe one number in the rating would cause dramatic consequences but...
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