There’s no doubt that helicopters and airplanes are expensive to buy, but have you ever wondered how much it costs to fuel a jet?
It’s not cheap. Jet fuel, depending on the type (Jet A, Jet A1, Jet B, TS-1) can cost over $3.00 per gallon, even in countries like the United States.
Table of Contents
- 1 How Much Jet Fuel Costs
- 2 The Cost of Jet Fuel Varies By Region and Country
- 3 How Much It Costs to Fuel a Plane
- 4 The Importance of Fuel Burn Per Hour
- 5 Where Jet Fuel is Purchased From
- 6 Correlation Between Jet Fuel and Ticket Prices
- 7 Types of Jet Fuel
How Much Jet Fuel Costs
The cost of jet fuel depends on multiple factors including market conditions, the price of crude oil, and the type of jet fuel being used.
As Jet A is the most commonly type of fuel used in North America, we will tell you much it costs per gallon, per liter, per hour, and per mile.
- Per Gallon: As of the beginning of 2023, on average, Jet A fuel costs $3.86 per gallon.
- Per Liter: On average, the A1 Jet fuel costs $1.40 per liter.
- Per Mile: It would cost between $5 to $20 on average to purchase enough fuel for a jet to travel for one nautical mile.
- Per Hour: Jet fuel costs anywhere between $500 to $2,000 per hour on average. The exact cost depends on the type and size of aircraft it’s being purchased for and the type of fuel being purchased.
The Cost of Jet Fuel Varies By Region and Country
Primarily, jet fuel prices in a region depend on the local price and supply of crude oil.
The size of the region’s urban areas also impacts jet fuel price, with bigger cities having more expensive fuel due to higher demand. The U.S. East Coast has high jet fuel prices, for example.
Jet fuel prices can also change because of supply troubles. Most airlines have contracts with suppliers guaranteeing the airlines will receive fuel in the event of a general shortage.
How Much It Costs to Fuel a Plane
Fueling a plane depends on its size, as bigger planes, such as a Boeing 747, have more equipment and require more fuel.
The cost also depends on market conditions.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, for example, the price of fueling a plane decreased sharply due to international travel restrictions decreasing the number of flights.
Small Private Plane
Fueling, a small private plane could cost on average between $250 to $400 since small planes burn smaller amounts of fuel, approximately 6 gallons per hour.
Depending on the size of the jet, it could require anywhere between 50 and 600 gallons of fuel per hour. As a result, the cost of fueling a private jet ranges from $2,000 to $30,000.
See Also: How Much Does a Private Jet Cost?
The average fueling cost of a commercial airliner ranges from $20.000 to $250,000 depending on the size of the plane, with larger planes costing more.
Most commercial planes are also fueled while empty to minimize risks for passengers.
The amount of fuel a Boeing 747 can hold is approximately 48,400 – 57,285 gallons depending on the model of aircraft (model series 100 – 400).
The Importance of Fuel Burn Per Hour
A lower fuel burn-per–hour rate reduces the cost of flying for an aircraft. The less it costs to fuel an aircraft, the more airlines can reduce ticket prices, attracting more travelers.
Airlines have an active interest in decreasing their fuel burn-per-hour rate since it results in increased ticket sales.
There’s also an ecological impact of burning less fuel per hour, since lower fuel use results in less environmental pollution. Burning less fuel per hour also lowers fossil fuel demand, limiting environmental degradation.
Where Jet Fuel is Purchased From
Buying jet fuel is easy if you own a plane that’s legally cleared to fly by your local aviation authorities. Every area has its own contractors who supply jet fuel within the local area.
These distributors range in size from local or regional companies to massive multinational corporations.
Buying jet fuel doesn’t require any license from plane owners.
A plane owner’s servicing or maintenance agency will have a legal license, and they’ll use it to purchase fuel for your plane. Commercial airliners do require legal licenses, though.
Correlation Between Jet Fuel and Ticket Prices
Most flight ticket prices depend on other factors, but large changes in jet fuel prices can have a big impact.
Jet fuel accounts for between 15-20% of an airline’s operating expenses. Higher fuel costs increase ticket prices, and conversely, lower fuel costs lower ticket prices, but only to a small extent.
Jet fuel prices depend on crude oil prices, so a decrease in crude oil prices with no changes to other operating costs would let airlines reduce ticket prices.
Conversely, an increase in crude oil prices results in increased ticket prices. In conclusion, jet fuel is expensive, and the cost of fueling an aircraft depends primarily on its size; larger aircraft cost more to fuel.
Types of Jet Fuel
There are four different types of jet fuel:
- Jet A
- Jet A1
- Jet B
Jet A and Jet A1
Jet A and Jet A1 are the most used type of jet fuel globally.
Jet A is used mostly in North America by the United States and parts of Canada, and Jet A1 is used all over the world, except Russia.
Jet A1 and Jet A are similar, with the main differences being that Jet-A1 has a lower freezing point, higher static charge tolerance and lower energy density than Jet A.
These qualities make Jet A1 better for long flights, and for flights over arctic regions.
Jet B fuel is intended for planes flying in freezing polar conditions, so it has a far lower freezing point than other fuel types.
It’s also more dangerous to handle due to its lighter composition, so it’s not as commonly used.
Sometimes, Jet B fuel is also used for military aircraft.
TS-1 jet fuel is used almost exclusively by airlines from Russia or former Soviet bloc countries, since it’s specifically designed for Russian airplane fuel regulations and requirements.
Jet Fuel For Military planes
Militaries have a different jet fuel classification system. The world’s militaries have also designed many specific sub-types of jet fuel for specific purposes.
For example, the JP-7 jet fuel was engineered for use for the SR-71 Blackbird aircraft.
The US military also uses the JP-8 fuel for many of their military aircraft.
Helen Krasner holds a PPL(A), with 15 years experience flying fixed-wing aircraft; a PPL(H), with 13 years experience flying helicopters; and a CPL(H), Helicopter Instructor Rating, with 12 years working as a helicopter instructor.
Helen is an accomplished aviation writer with 12 years of experience, having authored several books and published numerous articles while also serving as the Editor of the BWPA (British Women Pilots Association) newsletter, with her excellent work having been recognized with her nomination of the “Aviation Journalist of the Year” award.
Helen has won the “Dawn to Dusk” International Flying Competition, along with the best all-female competitors, three times with her copilot.