Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« Breakfast Serial | Think $50 Is Too Much for a Ti... »

Thursday, May 22, 2008

What Consumes Jet Fuel

posted by on May 22 at 11:00 AM

Here’s an arresting fact: The increase in jet fuel costs from a year ago that airlines are currently dealing with totals around $25 billion in additional costs for carriers, which is about five times more than the airline industry has ever earned in a single year (1999 was a record year for the industry, with profits topping out at about $5 billion).

What consumes jet fuel:





RSS icon Comments



Posted by Mr. Poe | May 22, 2008 11:10 AM

The USAF, Navy, Marines, and Army all add up to much of the consumption of jet fuel, gasoline, and diesel.

As in double digit percentages.

Mostly in Iraq.

Solution: Bring the troops home and put the money we waste on fuel into building American supplies of wind, solar, tidal, geothermal etc that can all be used to power fuel cells from basic hydrolysis.

Turning swords into H2 and O2 - the only way to go.

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 22, 2008 11:19 AM

make-a me so ANGRY!!!!

Posted by thanks happy | May 22, 2008 11:20 AM

You forgot pictures of Dan and Erica.

Posted by joykiller | May 22, 2008 11:21 AM

These will always come first. When we citizens are all struggling to obtain basic staples and meet transportation needs (although that will bear ever-increasing introspection) at $300/barrel, these machines will never have to worry about going thirsty.

Posted by laterite | May 22, 2008 11:21 AM

The cruel irony: The fact that we're fighting a war no one wanted makes it nearly impossible to afford a vacation to at least temporarily escape the terrible state our nation is in because we're fighting a war no one wanted.

Posted by thanks happy | May 22, 2008 11:23 AM

Yes...but you're leaving something crucial out of the equation. The formulation of jet fuel used by military vehicles is completely different from the fuel used by commercial. Commercial = J-1. Military = JP-4/5/8

They're not interoperable.

Try agian.

Posted by mpc | May 22, 2008 11:30 AM

It's all a rouse to impoverish the American people so much that the only reliable source of work and sustinence will be to join the military industrial complex; thereby effectively militarizing the population and preparing them for the inevitable world war that will result from the competition for those last, dwindling resources.

Posted by Lou | May 22, 2008 11:34 AM

You need to compare the $25 billion cost with revenue, not profit.

Posted by w7ngman | May 22, 2008 11:36 AM

I use jet fuel for my leaf blower! It significantly increases the horsepower and is especially useful on wet days when the detritus sticks to the sidewalks...

Posted by sam | May 22, 2008 11:37 AM

What's funny about the airline industry is that as a whole it is showing a NET LOSS FOREVER. All of the profits by all of the airlines added together since the Wright Brothers is a very large negative number.

Posted by Fnarf | May 22, 2008 11:47 AM

How long before the airline industry is completely subsidised by the federal government???????

Posted by KeeKee | May 22, 2008 11:57 AM

What's sad about the airline industry is that it took a magnificent feat of engineering that was impossible for 99.999% of human history and reduced it to a mundane and commidified mode of transportation that people now dread in less than a century.

Posted by laterite | May 22, 2008 12:07 PM

Yes, laterite, it would be much better if no one could travel long distances for almost no money, but just read about it in their newspapers. Commodified transportation is a spectacular societal good.

Posted by Fnarf | May 22, 2008 12:11 PM

@2: Can you document that? I Googled, but didn't find anything about percentage of jet fuel used by civilian / military applications.

@7: It's lame to be so smug about smacking someone down when you, yourself, are being an idiot. What do you think would happen to production volume, supplies, and costs of JP-1 if there were a dramatic decrease in demand for military fuel? Were you blind to the obvious answer, or did you just not mind posting an obviously idiotic point if it let you act superior?

Posted by also | May 22, 2008 12:13 PM

I never said no one should travel by airplane. My point is that the airline industry (with some help from the government after 9/11) has done everything it can to make airline travel as miserable as possible for as many people as possible while striving for nonexistent profit (as you pointed out).

Posted by laterite | May 22, 2008 12:19 PM

Part II : Also meant to add that airline travel used to be regarded as something special in and of itself, even as recently as 15-20 years ago. Who is excited to fly nowadays? I personally love it, but have had no need to do so in the last few years, and everything I read or hear of late makes me want to avoid an airport for the rest of my life. And that is really sad. I mean, it's FLYING! That should be some god damn exciting shit right there. But, no more.

Posted by laterite | May 22, 2008 12:26 PM

The same thing could be said about driving cars.

Posted by A | May 22, 2008 12:31 PM

Wanna be rich? Here's the idea of the future -- Commercial ultralights. 50 people per ultralight, all pedaling as fast as they can.

Posted by Idea of the FUTURE | May 22, 2008 12:37 PM

Ah, the A-10 Warthog - pretty plane. One of the last built that harkens back to a relatively autonomous pilot & stick flying style of the olden days.

Posted by Lloyd Clydesdale | May 22, 2008 12:37 PM

It's our fate to sacrifice for the Chinese and India. Soon we will sacrifice our food for them as well.

Posted by Vince | May 22, 2008 12:37 PM

@18 : Yes.

Posted by laterite | May 22, 2008 12:39 PM

Back in the late 70's, when living in L.A., the cost of a roundtrip ticket to Mpls was $400 - which was a lot for me to dish out. Using the Consumer Price Index, $400 in 1979 is equal to $1046 in today's dollars. However, I can still get a roundtrip for about $400. The point is, what's your bitch?

Posted by charlie in st. paul | May 22, 2008 12:40 PM

Actually, $400 in 1979 dollars is $1258 today. And that's a pretty high fare these days. Discount airlines have made it possible to travel all over Europe, for instance, for as little as ten or twenty dollars.

The glamor of air travel? You couldn't afford it.

Posted by Fnarf | May 22, 2008 12:47 PM

Airlines are the canary in the coal mine when it comes to the first major disturbances we are going to see from peak oil.

I, for one, welcome the death of airlines. Jet fuel (which is little more than kerosene)wreaks exponentially more global warming related havok then simply driving or simply taking amtrak across the country.

Posted by Zach | May 22, 2008 12:47 PM

[insert "I hate the Blue Angels" rant here]

Posted by mmbb | May 22, 2008 1:08 PM

Being alive is the number one cause of global warming, Zach. Hint, hint.

Posted by Fnarf | May 22, 2008 1:09 PM

#17 - besides the obvious reason that air travel is entirely commonplace now, I think it's fair to say most of us don't dread the act of flying, we dread the experience of fellow travelers.

I still think planes are cool as shit - the the man that has to get his sweater out of his bag he stowed in an overhead three rows back before his gets off the plane, that's not so cool. A whole bus can empty at a stop in 30 seconds, air passengers, however, like to drag that part of the experience to around 20 minutes.

I'm flying tomorrow, on a holiday weekend - pretty sure I'm not looking forward to the crowds.

Posted by Dougsf | May 22, 2008 1:13 PM

Most of the dreadfulness of flying takes place in the terminal, not the plane. The Security Theater.

Posted by Fnarf | May 22, 2008 1:28 PM

@15 What's up straw man? I can't defend a position, so I'll just attack the person refuting my argument. The methods used to refine J-1 aren't really related to the methods used for JP-4. Increased US military demand has no more or less impact on the availability of fuel than increased demand for unrefined petroleum for gasoline from the domestic automobile market, the fuel oil market, overseas markets, plastic manufacturers, etc...etc...etc...

Posted by mpc | May 22, 2008 1:29 PM

It is fitting, then, that the Defense Department is spending more on funding research into algal and cellulosic based jet fuel than any other arm of the government.

Posted by boyd main | May 22, 2008 3:56 PM

@7 - wrong. They were just testing supersonic bombers fueled with synthetic jet fuel (front page today's WSJ). Tests went fine at supersonic speeds.

$1458 is pretty cheap - I've paid for round-trip flights to Fiji, Australia, and New Zealand that cost that much. Mind you, I prefer $300 roundtrip tix to Milan ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | May 22, 2008 4:15 PM

Will, do you evaluate your plane ticket deals without regard to destination? Charlie was talking about LA to Minneapolis, not Australia. Or are you just braggin' again, about places you went but didn't understand?

Posted by Fnarf | May 22, 2008 4:34 PM

And of course you give credit to the Wall Street Journal article yesterday that gave you the numbers in this Slog post, right?

Posted by MyDogBen | May 22, 2008 4:57 PM

Um, MyDogBen at 34:

This post starts with a block quote, clearly quoting an external source. It even includes a healthy link to the original WSJ source.

Even shitty RSS readers should be able to show a block quote. So, please work on your reading skills before bitching next time.

Posted by Jonathan Golob | May 22, 2008 5:28 PM

Jet fuel usage by M1 tanks certainly pales in comparison to that used by naval destroyers and other ships of many nations, often powered by multiple aircraft-derived gas turbines (DC-10 size) for rapid startup. Just turn the key and drive--no need to build a head of steam. Hovercraft, helicopters, etc. also use jet fuel.

Some stationary "peaking" gas turbine power plants may also use jet fuel, although many use natural gas. California, for example, generates less than 50% of its average summer peak electric loads with "always-on" plants (coal, nuclear, hydro, etc.). All the rest is either imported (which is why we were vulnerable to Enron's schemes) or generated by the small scattered gas turbine plants (at a cost of 40-50 cents a kilowatt hour).

Posted by rob | May 22, 2008 5:35 PM

I'm with @28 and 29. Traveling to places I would never have been able to afford going to 50 years ago is a priceless experience. But the delayed flights and resultant missed connections, nickel and dime charges, security rituals, waiting for the old geezer in front of me to actually GET OUT OF THE FUCKING AISLE after we have landed before monkeying around in his luggage searching for/putting away some precious belonging, etc makes the airport experience itself less than pleasant.

And @26: count me among those who go to Vancouver for the weekend every year when the Blue Angels deafen Capitol Hill with their silly dog and pony show.

Posted by RainMan | May 22, 2008 7:35 PM

Blue Angels arguments must wait until after Memorial Day.

Posted by joykiller | May 23, 2008 7:50 AM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).