Home » Long Beach Airport (LGB) » 1.24.24 Unleaded Aviation Fuel Subsidy Program to Launch at Long Beach Airport

Unleaded Aviation Fuel Subsidy Program to Launch at Long Beach Airport

General Avi Plane
Kate Kuykendall
Public Affairs Officer
Long Beach Airport

Long Beach, CA – In its latest move to accelerate the transition of aviation fuel, also known as avgas, at Long Beach Airport (LGB) from leaded to unleaded, the City Council last night approved with a 9 to 0 vote to implement a new subsidy program to offset unleaded fuel costs for general aviation users. The program will not apply to commercial and business jets, which already use unleaded fuel.

“By subsidizing the transition to unleaded fuel, Long Beach Airport is leading the way on this pressing national issue,” said Mayor Rex Richardson. “We began down this path in October 2022 and we are proud to take this next step. We know this environmental issue is of great concern to our community and we’re proud to play a leading role in enacting change in the aviation industry.”

LGB is one of only a handful of airports in the nation to offer a financial subsidy to encourage the purchase of unleaded aviation fuel.

"This action marks a pivotal step in our mission to limit the use of leaded aviation fuel that is impacting our community," said Councilwoman Kerr. "Taking bold local steps like this helps to realize our goal of lead-free skies.  We celebrate this additional local effort that helps put Long Beach at the forefront of forging a path toward a cleaner and brighter future.”

The Federal Aviation Administration has set a target for the elimination of leaded aviation fuel for all piston-powered aircraft by the year 2030. In an effort to speed up the transition at the local level, LGB’s Unleaded Aviation Fuel Subsidy Program is designed to eliminate the cost differential between leaded avgas and unleaded avgas.

“Subsidizing the price difference of unleaded aviation fuel removes one of the major barriers for its widespread adoption,” said Councilman Daryl Supernaw. “I’m proud that our City is pressing ahead with local solutions ahead of the federal government’s timeline.”

Unleaded 94-grade fuel (UL94) has been available at Long Beach Airport since August 2023 through Signature Aviation @ Aeroplex, a fixed-base operator and fuel provider. The sale price of UL94 for consumers can be $2 to $4 more per gallon than leaded 100-grade fuel (100LL) varieties, but the Unleaded Aviation Fuel Subsidy Program will allow fuel providers to sell unleaded varieties at the same price as 100LL. It is envisioned that the cost of unleaded avgas will decrease over time as demand increases. The Unleaded Aviation Fuel Subsidy Program will encourage this process.

With the City Council approval, Airport staff will begin working with fuel providers to implement the program, with $200,000 in reimbursements available for fuel expenses, covered by Airport revenue.

“We appreciate City Council’s support in taking local actions to reduce lead emissions far in advance of the goal set by the federal government,” said Airport Director Cynthia Guidry. “We are actively listening to our community and committed to being an environmental leader.”

This adoption of the Unleaded Aviation Fuel Subsidy Program follows a series of actions taken by the City Council and Long Beach Airport to facilitate the move towards unleaded avgas:

  • In October 2022, then Vice Mayor Rex Richardson brought forth the recommendation for the City Manager to work with Airport staff and stakeholders to establish a plan to reduce and mitigate lead pollution, which was approved by the City Council. 
  • In December 2022, the City Council voted to waive fuel flowage fees for unleaded avgas.
  • In August 2023, Signature Aviation @ Aeroplex at LGB received the Airport’s first delivery of unleaded avgas.
  • In September 2023, Councilwoman Kerr, co-sponsored by Councilman Supernaw, requested a comprehensive report on general aviation, including detail on how the use of unleaded avgas could be incentivized, which the City Council approved. Airport staff subsequently published the Oct. 31, 2023, memo.
  • In November 2023, the City Council approved a Supplemental Type Certificate Fee (STC) reimbursement program, which took effect this month and provides up to $300 for aircraft owners to obtain required approval from the FAA before their plane can use unleaded fuel (www.lgb.org/stc).

About the City of Long Beach
Long Beach is nestled along the Southern California coast and home to approximately 466,000 people. As an award-winning full-service charter city, Long Beach offers the amenities of a metropolitan city while maintaining a strong sense of individual and diverse neighborhoods, culture and community. With a bustling downtown and over six miles of scenic beaches, Long Beach is a renowned tourist and business destination and home to the iconic Queen Mary, nationally recognized Aquarium of the Pacific and Long Beach Airport, award-winning Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center and world-class Port of Long Beach.

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