Future of Avgas

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Given the consensus on peak oil and the world's constantly increasing
demand for hydrocarbon energy, I'm curious what everyone's (especially
Philip's) long-term outlook is for Avgas.

Assuming it is available, what do you anticipate the cost per gallon
will be in 2010, 2020 or 2030?

Does aviation have a future beyond 2040, when oil resources are widely
forecast to be near totally depleted?


John Iarussi
Tallahassee, FL

-- John Iarussi, June 21, 2007


I'm not too worried about running out of fuel, especially since I think that the Cirrus SR20 and Robinson R44 engines will run reasonably well on high octane car gas. I don't think that there is any possibility of oil running out, at least not if you consider the possibility of extracting oil from the shale and tar sands of Alberta, Canada. As a last resort, we can do what the Germans did during World War II, which is to convert coal to gasoline. As the planet warms up, people may see more value in aviation, actually, e.g., in escaping to Nunavut from June through August.

It would be nice if demand for aviation were reduced a bit by better video conferencing and collaboration software. Mostly the skies are filled with corporate mediocrities going to mind-wasting and bladder-busting meetings ("none of us is as dumb as all of us"). I guess I shouldn't write too much more since I have to pack up for another trip to Cape Town, South Africa (meeting to work on an optimized computer science master's degree program)....

-- Philip Greenspun, July 4, 2007

Gee, what a wide-ranging question. I don't know any numbers, but the economy is tremendously dependent on air and ground transportation; research and development of motors will address shortages in a given type of fuel. In other words, I don't know about your "totally depleted" year of 2040, but whatever the time frame, people will develop motors that run on other types of fuel, such as hydrogen, etc. A plane is just a wing with a motor stuck on it, so those motors will be used for aviation too.

-- Max Rahder, June 24, 2007

Good Sunday Afternoon:

I believe that there are several possible solutions ahead of us for our general aviation fuel needs. Large jet aircraft will probably have to evolve differently. Here is a link to an alternative fuel test aircraft that I found earlier this morning before reading this thread.



-- Mike Eckley, July 8, 2007

Even if AVGAS is avialable beyond 2040 the price will be horrendous? AVGAS in Europe is already 12 USD per gallon, a third of it is tax. If this money would be spend developing hydrogen technology there would be a future for aviation. But Hydrogen production is still far from being efficient and Ethanol is not a solution either.

-- Cipriano Kritzinger, March 21, 2008