The content of this document covers a description of the usage of Aviation Gasoline in the operations of General Aviation. It explores the operation of the Aviation Gasoline in aircraft engine system and looks at the history of AVGAS usage in this industry as well as the challenges that are associated with its usage as a fuel source so far. It discusses the possibilities, the benefits, constraints and also the available alternative options that are involved in the introduction of alternative fuels in General Aviation as replacement to the convectional one which is Aviation Gasoline.


Aviation Gasoline (AVGAS) is a fuel in aviation industry that finds its usage in internal combustion engines that are spark ignited. AVGAS has got in its content tetraethyl lead which is toxic and serves to ensure detonation, otherwise referred to as engine knocking. The availability and usage of AVGAS currently takes place in the form of a number of different grades with varying concentration of lead. General Aviation applies the use of AVGAS as their dependable source of fuel (Rhoades, 2008). The natural as well as artificial reserves of AVGAS as a source of fuel are however on their way to depletion. This is something that has brought about global concerns especially to the General Aviation. Considerations with regard to cost and environmental condition especially in Europe has brought about an increase in concerns and improvements of the aircraft engine system whereby the engine is fitted with diesel system that is efficient in terms of fuel consumption (Miller, 2013).

Replacement of Aviation Gasoline fuels in General Aviation

Currently in Australia and other parts of the world, there are no specific procedures or guidelines for use in qualification and development of new General aviation alternative fuels with an intention of using it in the existing aircraft engines as an alternative fuel. This brings about a situation that causes risks, uncertainties as well as impact on cost for the developers of unleaded aviation gasoline fuel (Rand, 2003). There are currently ongoing developments in coming up with a standardized practice for evaluating aviation gasoline with regard gasoline additives. The standardized practices issue steps for use in the development of information necessary during the introduction of improved specifications for aviation gasoline (Miller, 2013).

According to several organizations, the availability of fuels that are octane certified is experienced and the manufacturing industries have been able to present three fuels for experimentation analysis. There have been planned investigations with regard to suitability for application of overall aviation and to provide future deployment recommendation (Macinnis, 2003). Developments with regard to biofuels have been able to bring about positive outcomes as far as Kerosene/diesel (AVTUR), electric power, hydrogen among other alternatives is concerned. Several research programs have been directed towards obtaining appropriate General Aviation fuel replacement (Miller, 2013).

The continued progress on research concerning alternative aviation and jet fuel is considered as natural progress. The global fuel manufactures are expected to develop samples of fuel for purposes of testing in the engine system of aircraft as a major step in allowing for transition into alternative fuel from leaded Aviation Gasoline (Miller, 2013). International aviation authorities and bodies have been charges with responsibilities from their governments of ensuring that they identify key obstacles and issues to certification, development as well as deployment of unleaded aviation gasoline having little impacts upon the engine piston that is in existence currently in aircrafts. There has also been the urge especially from the concerned stakeholders in the energy sectors with regard to the most efficient and viable fuel sources that are most likely to serve as alternatives for aviation gasoline (Khurana, 2009).

Various aviation authorities worldwide have been on the fore front in facilitating the introduction and advancement of unleaded fuels that are unleaded. This is not only in an attempt to make up for the increased depletion rates AVGAS source of fuel but also to ensure safety and improvement in the environment as well as aviation. Various aircraft industries have been able to come to terms with a number of technical challenges especially in the auto industry though not very complex (Meggs, 2009). These challenges involved those that are associated with subjection of AVGA to conversion. The conversions are actually aimed at ensuring compliance with the standards through reduction of pollutants. Coping with the demand for AVGAS that that is without lead elements extensively involves seeking for alternative fuels to serve as replacement for the current AVGAS fuel in the aircraft industry (Stoner and Malleck, 2008).

Exploration of General Aviation alternative fuels

Kerosene/diesel (AVTUR), electric power, hydrogen among others is some of the alternative fuel that is currently being explored by researchers in Australia as well as other parts of the world (Penner, 2009). The alternative fuels in general aviation that are thought as having higher potential with regard to production could also be obtained Australian oil sands, coal fuel jet, a combination of biomass and coal fuel, natural gas and also jet fuel from renewable oil hydro processing. These alternative fuel sources can are believed to be much easier and cheaper to be made compatible with the fuel delivery and propulsion systems in aircrafts currently (Miller, 2013).

The Australian oil sands and Kerosene/diesel (AVTUR) are considered as having greater potential as alternative fuels in in General Aviation industry. However is feared that their extensive usage would bring about an increased Green House Gas emissions. The future success expectations of alternative fuels are largely dependent on the improvement of the aircraft propulsion system and also the construction of processing, storage and distribution plants for these alternative fuels (Stoner & Malleck, 2008). Researchers in the area of General Aviation in Australian and all over the world have, for years, been conducting studies concerning the introduction of hydrogen as a potential alternative in aircraft propulsion system as compared to other available alternatives (Rhoades, 2008).

Researchers have been able to find that the advantages that are associated with hydrogen as an alternative General aviation fuel which include the fact that it has got a higher content of energy in relation to its weight, it has got zero emission of Green House Gases and it is also easier to handle as a combustible gas. However, several drawbacks associated with its usage have also been able to come up which include its handling difficulties in storage as well as supply (Stoner and Malleck, 2008).


In conclusion, the replacement of aviation gasoline with alternative fuel, even though has got a number of challenges here and there, is something that is worth initiating. This is because it all beneficial in the long run. It is however, clear that there is the necessity to carry out some engine modification in the event of introduction of alternative fuel to ensure the engine functions efficiently. This is especially significant with regard to market considerations and economic factors regarding the aviation industry and the energy sector both regionally as well as globally.


BLEE, J. (2007). Aviation in Australia from the barnstorming pioneers to the airlines of today. Auckland, NZ, Exisle Pub.

BLEE, J. (2010). Aviation in Australia. [Strawberry Hills, N.S.W.], ReadHowYouWant.

FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION. (2013). Far/Aim 2014 Federal Aviation Regulations/Aeronautical Information Manual. Aviation Supplies & Academics.

GILBERT, R., & PERL, A. (2010). Transport revolutions moving people and freight without oil. Philadelphia, Pa, New Society.

KHURANA, K. C., 2009. Aviation management: global perspectives. New Delhi, Global India Publications.

MACINNIS, P. (2003). Rockets: sulfur, Sputnik and scramjets. Crow’s Nest, NSW, Australia, Allen & Unwin.

MEGGS, K. R. (2009). Australian-built aircraft and the industry. Seymour, Vic, Four Finger Publishing.

MILLER, B. (2012). Guidelines for integrating alternative jet fuel into the airport setting. Washington, D.C., Transportation Research Board.

MILLER, B., 2013. Assessing opportunities for alternative fuel distribution programs. Washington, D.C, Transportation Research Board.

PENNER, J. E. (2009). Aviation and the global atmosphere: a special report of IPCC Working Groups I and III in collab. with the Scientific Assessment Panel to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer […] […]. Cambridge [u.a.], Cambridge University Press.

RAND, S. J. (2003). Manual on significance of tests for petroleum products. West Conshohocken, PA, ASTM International.

RHOADES, D. L. 2008. Evolution of international aviation: phoenix rising. Aldershot,.

STONER, J. A. & MALLECK, S. K. (2008). Global sustainability initiatives: new models and new approaches. Charlotte, N.C., Information Age Pub.