New regulations announced yesterday by the U.S. EPA reduces the acceptable level of lead in air from 1.5ug/m**3 (micrograms / cubic meter) to .15ug/m**3. A ten-fold reduction.
The standards will begin to take effect in 2011, and states with areas in violation will have five years from that point to implement plans to meet the standards.
Given that Avgas now contributes approximately 29% of the total atmospheric lead emissions in the U.S., it seems likely that there will be an impact on Avgas production and availability.
It seems likely that areas with large GA communities will have difficulties meeting the new standards, especially near larger GA airports.
The GA community in the U.S. (and it's mostly in the U.S., since, with the exception of a couple of countries, there's very little leaded Avgas used in the rest of the world) continues to shoot itself in the foot on this issue by mostly pretending the issue doesn't exist (the odd whine and position paper excepted).
100LL is going the way of the dinosaur people, and we've known that for thirty years now, and yet have made essentially no meaningful effort to develop alternatives. Yes, there are a few research programs with modest funding, and a few engine manufacturers have taken it upon themselves to (slowly) develop diesels, despite a near complete lack of commitment from aircraft manufacturers and owners (and thus basically no economic demand).
Three decades of inaction have likely used up any moral capital we have on the subject. It was reasonable in 1978 to say, we don’t have an alternative, we need time to come up with one. But that was *30* years ago. The general public thinks poorly enough of us already. What happens when someone does a vocal job pointing out that a third of the lead their kids are breathing is from GA? You think there’s going to be much sympathy for the jerks poisoning the kids who *knew* this was an issue for thirty years, and have basically ignored it?
Just wait until some locality with a big GA airport and an atmospheric lead violation happens. The screams to shut it down will be heard over the oceans…