A bill that would ban the sale of leaded avgas has been introduced in the Washington state House of Representatives.
Should it become law, WA HB 1554, which was introduced January 31, would begin a phased-in restriction on the “selling, distributing, or otherwise making available to consumers” leaded avgas in Washington state beginning January 2026.
According to the bill’s language, restrictions would initially be placed on airports in areas of greatest population with a complete ban of 100LL for the entire state by 2030.
The move would make Washington the latest to implement restrictions on 100LL in what seems to be a widening trend. In January 2022, California’s Santa Clara County prematurely stopped the sale of 100LL at Reid-Hillview Airport (KRHV) and San Martin Airport (E16)—drawing backlash from several aviation groups.
Talks of banning leaded aviation gasoline may have been escalated by the October release of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) findings that lead air pollution endangers public health, and emissions from certain aircraft cause or contribute to lead pollution.
The latest effort in Washington prompted aviation groups including the Experimental Aviation Association, Helicopter Association International, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, and the National Air Transportation Association to cry foul. In a letter to Washington’s House Environment and Energy Committee, the groups argued that efforts to eliminate leaded aviation fuel are already underway and are making significant strides through the Eliminate Aviation Gasoline Lead Emissions, or EAGLE initiative.
“It is important to note that general aviation has made excellent progress working with the FAA and our industry partners to expedite the development of unleaded aviation gasoline (avgas), and that we remain committed to the safe and coordinated national plan already underway through the EPA that will lead to the removal of lead from avgas. The premature effort of phasing out leaded avgas in HB1554 will not support this initiative and could have negative consequences on aviation safety in the State of Washington and hinder progress by causing distraction and redirecting resources,” the groups wrote.
The groups also noted the legislation’s severe consequences for communities who rely on the airports in the affected areas—citing an economic impact study by the Washington State Department of Transportation-Aviation which indicates $107 billion in total economic impact (business revenues) to the state’s economy and communities.
Vehemently opposing the legislation as written, the groups instead recommend supporting the ongoing EAGLE initiative to expedite the transition to unleaded fuel. As a coalition of industry, government, and aviation stakeholders, EAGLE is already making significant progress. In September, the FAA approved the first high-octane unleaded fuel following years of testing. Additionally, four high-octane unleaded fuels are currently in evaluation phases to determine whether they are a potentially viable alternative for the current avgas supply.
“We ask that this committee recognize the great progress made by the aviation community to remove lead from avgas and the federal EPA process to mandate the elimination of lead emissions and delay this state legislation.”
Moving forward, the coalition welcomed a dialogue with the committee and encouraged them to seek out the associations for additional resources.