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I love to fly and have logged 892 hours in 3 and a half years. That’s a lot of fuel.
I have never liked the lead in aviation fuel. It trashes the spark plugs and the engine oil and of course it’s bad for the environment. My 601’s Jabiru 3300 engine does not need the lead.
A few months ago I started burning premium automotive fuel. I bought two plastic 14 gallon fuel tanks from Costco for about $80 each. The gas tank comes with a long hose which has a gas station-like nozzle on the end, which I cut off and discarded.
On my way to the airport I stop at the Chevron station and buy up to 28 gallons of gas. I set one tank on each wing walk and run the hose out to the filler opening and let the gas drain into the wing tanks while I preflight the plane. It’s a bit of a hassle but not too bad and I save a lot of money.
Today I tried something different. I put 5 gallons of premium in the pilot’s-side tank and 14 gallons of regular in the passenger’s-side tank. I almost never have a passenger so I tend to put more fuel in that side.
I took off using the premium fuel then throttled back and switched to the tank with regular fuel. I kept the RPMs below 2,500 at all times and flew most of the time at about 2,200 RPM. CHTs were generally below 300. The engine ran just fine.
At 2,200 RPM my 601 is going about 80 miles per hour while burning about 3.3 gallons per hour. That
works out to about 25 miles per gallon. Not bad at all. Using regular automotive fuel the cost per hour is under $11.
All automotive fuel sold in California contains 10% ethanol. The Jabiru motor’s stock Bing carburetor comes with white colored floats which turn to mush over time when exposed to ethanol. The white floats need to be replaced with black colored ones. These are available from Bing.
The only issue I have encountered due to ethanol is that the Zodiac’s gas caps are made of a plastic that is not ethanol resistant. They are getting a bit gummy and are now hard to open and close. I have not found replacements for these yet.