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How Much Does Jet Fuel Cost Per Gallon?

Refueling of a jet airplane.

When you are talking about jet fuel, the price per gallon isn’t the biggest number. The amount of jet fuel needed to get a commercial passenger jet from Point A to Point B is a lot greater. You need 39,000 gallons of diesel fuel to operate a Boeing 747 for a 10 hour flight, for example.

That’s quite a lot of fuel. At the same time, jet fuel costs are another number to consider. This ranges from $500 to $2,000 an hour.

I’ve discovered you need to calculate the fuel burn rate and other factors like temperature to define the cost per gallon for jet fuel. Here is a look at the cost of jet fuel per gallon compared to jet fuel costs per hour.

What is Jet Fuel

DHL jet fuel tanker, focused shot.

Jet fuel is classified differently than normal aviation fuel, which is called AVGAS and supports piston-engine planes, such as two-seater Pipers. If you are operating a commercial passenger jet, such as a Boeing 747, then you will need jet fuel. You and I probably will never operate such an aircraft, but it’s fun to pretend.

There are four types of jet fuel that are used for jets including:

  • Jet A that is used in North America
  • Jet A 1 for cold weather used by all but Russia
  • Jet B for planes in freezing weather and for military aircraft
  • TS- 1 for Russia and former Soviet bloc countries

These different types of jet fuel are all priced according to the market and national index for the country.

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Cost per Gallon for Jet Fuel

A Shell jet fuel tanker.

The daily cost of jet fuel is determined and monitored by Airlines for America. This is a website that shows the daily jet fuel spot prices for the Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, and New York markets in the US. This is presented by Argus Media Group, which is not related to the Argus Leader, which is the newspaper established in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in 1881.

The Argus US Jet Fuel Index presents a minimalist chart view of how much the price of jet fuel is per gallon. The current price per gallon for March 24, 2022 is $4.12, which is up from March 14, 2022 when the price was $3.11 per gallon. Here is the baseline that pilots use to help them determine how much fuel they will have to buy for a trip.

It is also useful to see the cost per gallon of jet fuel if you are in the transportation industry. For those in tourism and aviation, particularly professionals working in the airports and for airlines, this price index is a guideline. The cost of jet fuel also determines what airlines charge for pricing for airplane seats based on a fair range and demand.

It’s easy to see that airlines would charge more for seats sold on the day of a peak price for jet fuel. The information about jet fuel also plays into the total operating and fuel burn costs.

Cost of Jet Fuel

Refueling jet airplane before flight.

To determine the price of jet fuel on any given day, start with the market conditions. This varies based on environmental factors like weather, as well as the peak demand for jet fuel. The market is also variable according to supply in the oil fields and in the pipelines.

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The price of crude oil is a major part of the total cost per gallon, as this is the basic price that crude oil costs before it is processed into jet fuel.

For starters, “Jet A is the most commonly type of fuel used in North America,” according to Executive Flyers. This type of jet fuel costs an average of $5.29 a gallon as of 2022. Compare this to Jet A 1 fuel, which is priced at $1.40 per liter on average in the same year.

There is not as much of a demand for Jet A 1 fuel in this part of the world, which does drive down the price. However, in a peak season or due to natural disasters, this price will skyrocket.

The total cost for fueling a jet is $500 to $2,000 an hour, according to Executive Flyers, which also reports, “The exact cost depends on the type and size of aircraft it’s being purchased for and the type of fuel being purchased.” Furthermore, it is $5 to $20 for one nautical mile to operate a jet plane. For a private jet that holds 50 to 600 gallons, the cost is $2,000 to $30,000 an hour.

Commercial passenger jets, like the Jumbo Jet, have a much larger capacity for jet fuel. The Boeing 747 holds 48,400 to 57,285 gallons of jet fuel. This costs between $20,000 and $250,000 for a single flight.

Here, though, the US is more likely to see price fluctuations in the Jet A fuel sector. Meanwhile, other jet fuel prices remain bound to international markets that depend on those types of jet fuel when in North America.

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Whatever the market determines for the crude oil price per barrel to be will set the end price for the airlines or pilot. The type of jet fuel being used also plays a role in the cost of jet fuel. In order to find out how much jet fuel costs per gallon, analysts look at each of these factors and work out a good price for jet fuel per gallon.

Operating and Fuel Burn Costs

Tanker truck for jet refueling.

Determine the operating costs for a commercial jet or private jet to help maximize the cost per gallon of jet fuel. These are determined by the fuel burn rate of the jet, which involves multiple factors. Pilots and airline traffic controllers are responsible for understanding fuel burn costs and the cost per gallon of jet fuel.