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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

How much fuel is consumed on a flight?

How can you work out the amount of fuel consumption that you are responsible for when you take a flight? This is very significant - does all the fuel you saved driving the Prius to the airport get used up on your flight coast to coast?

Here's the methodology.

Let's take the paying WEIGHT that a plane transports from A to B.

The paying weight is made up of passengers, their baggage, and any cargo that the plane carries.

As an example, let's take an Airbus A320.

Typical 2 class configuration is 150 passengers. Take a load factor of 86.6%, so 130 passengers

Consider a trip of the maximum range (3,700 miles), uses maximum 6,400 US Gallons of fuel.


Empty Weight of A320 94,000
Weight of 6,400 US Gallons of Jet Fuel 42,624
Weight of 130 passengers plus their baggage 26,000
Weight of cargo (subtract above from Max Take off Weight of 170,000) 7,376

So, each passenger consumes approximately (200/(26000+7376)*6,400=38 US Gallons to travel 3,700 Miles. (not bad!)

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