Is it true that leaded fuel is going to be phased out?

It will be a very long time before leaded aviation fuel is truly gone, if ever.  

The FAA currently has no plan and no timetable for phasing out or banning leaded fuel. The recent EPA endangerment finding does not compel action by the FAA. In the 25 years since lead was banned from automotive fuel, the FAA has tried and failed to provide unleaded aviation fuel, so their record is not good. And, providing unleaded fuel is not the same as phasing out leaded fuel. The truth is that unless and until there is a nationwide ban on leaded aviation fuel, some planes flying in and out of airports like ours will be burning leaded fuel over our heads.

At the time of this writing (April 2024), use of unleaded aviation fuel is purely voluntary. Our airport may be able to obtain and sell unleaded fuel, but the FAA requires BDU to also continue to sell leaded fuel. Unleaded fuel costs about $1 to $1.50 more per gallon than leaded fuel. You can imagine pulling up to the gas pump and seeing the cheap fuel next to the fuel that costs an additional $1 or more per gallon. How many pilots will choose the more expensive unleaded fuel, when many of them still deny that lead is a problem? 

At airports where unleaded fuel is currently available for small piston-engine planes, sales are low. This means nearly all planes flying in and out of small airports like ours are still buying and using leaded fuel.

What’s more, the aviation industry continues to this day to advocate for the continued use of leaded fuel because it is cheaper and available nationwide for all fleets. Any switch to unleaded fuel will be slow and incomplete for as long as leaded fuel is still an option. The aviation industry will fight fiercely against any ban. They continue to lobby Congress to ensure the continued sale of leaded aviation fuel by writing a mandate into the FAA Reauthorization Act. Here is more information about decades of past efforts around leaded aviation fuel.​