EAA Helps Sway Idaho Ethanol Legislation
March 29, 2006 — Aircraft owners in Idaho who rely on auto fuel to operate their aircraft gained a reprieve earlier this month thanks in part to the efforts of EAA and its members. Facing a statewide requirement for all gasoline to include 10 percent ethanol, Idaho EAAers articulated their strong concerns to lawmakers over the availability of fuel for safe operation of their aircraft.
As a result of these and other efforts, Idaho's proposed legislation failed to make it out of a House committee in early March, which killed the state's ethanol mandate for this session. Legislators intend to further study the issue this summer and will likely be debated in the future.
Of primary concern are bills that either don't address aviation uses or don't provide a means for exempted, non-ethanol gasoline to get to the ultimate consumer, including owners of aircraft, boats, motorcycles, vintage cars, and other recreational users. Even when exemptions for these specific users are included, often there are no incentives for gas station owners to carry non-ethanol gasoline.
In Idaho and other states considering ethanol requirements, EAA's solution is to eliminate individual user exemptions and simply exempt premium grade (91 octane of higher, as was passed in Montana and was part of Wisconsin's legislation). This ensures availability at local fuel stations, providing a win-win solution for both ethanol producers and the public who require non-ethanol blended fuels.
States with ethanol laws include Minnesota, Hawaii and Montana. EAA and its members will continue to be a voice for aviation as more states take up the ethanol mandate debate to ensure fuel availability for aircraft that require non-blended gasoline to operate safely.