Several general aviation (GA) organizations have advocated for the exemption of aircraft from the fuel-emissions standards proposed in the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (H.R. 2454). Avweb reports that it looks much better for GA, as the bill passed the house on June 26, 2009, with the exemption for aircraft in place. Although the bill must still be approved by the Senate, word is that the Senate is not going to push for limits on aviation emissions (according to Helicopter Association International).
Personally, I am very pleased to see the exemption and I hope it stays when passed by the Senate. Despite the current economic woes and the accompanying drop in aircraft values, the operational cost of flying does not seem to have gone down much. The standards proposed in this bill could have driven the cost of Avgas up significantly, sidelining many pilots and an important part of commerce in our great country. I am no fan of Avgas from an environmental standpoint, but regulation is not the way to deal with it at this time. There are many promising alternatives to Avgas being developed that would require little, if any, changes to engines or airframes. I’m hopefuly that those alternatives will prove fruitful soon enough to stay the government’s regulatory hands.