how much is plane fuel per gallon

How Much Is Plane Fuel Per Gallon? As of January 2020, the price of Jet A1 was approximately $650 per metric tonne. A metric tonne is 1,000 KG or 2,204 lbs. This equates to about $0.65 per KG. Due to collapse in oil price bought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, as of May 2020, Jet A1 was approximately $200 per metric tonne which equates to around $0.20 per KG. Let us discuss the jet fuel prices 2020 and jet fuel prices by country below.

Note: 1 KG = 2.2 LBS

Source: IATA

How Much Is Plane Fuel Per Gallon

The price of jet fuel (known as Jet A1) is closely aligned the price of oil which varies on a daily basis. In May 2020, the price of Jet A1 was down 69% compared to the previous 12 months.

Example Calculations

The price of jet fuel as of January 2015 is as follows:

  • 170.8 Cents (US dollars) per Gallon
  • 1 litre = 0.3125 pence (pound sterling)
  • 1 litre = 0.40 Euros

This does not include delivery of the fuel. At present there is no tax on aviation fuel in Europe.

jet fuel prices by country

A jumbo jet (Boeing 747-400) flying from London to New York burns approximately 70,000 kilograms of fuel. Jet fuel has an approximate specific gravity of 0.85 (the measure of its density), which equates to 82,300 litres.

Therefore, the cost of the fuel required to fly from London to New York is approximately £25,500 (€32,500). A jumbo jet carrying 450 passengers, would work out at £57 (€73) per person.

The prices airlines actually pay for their fuel varies substantially depending on what they’ve “hedged” it at. Hedging is where you agree a constant price for fuel for a set period of time into the future. This helps to reduce risk and fixed costs which can be important for airline financial planning. For example, a certain amount of fuel, say 5 million tonnes, might be hedged at $600 per metric tonne for 12 months. The airline will pay $600 per metric tonne regardless of any fluctuation in price of fuel during this time. If the fuel price goes up, the airline is protected from this rise whilst if there is a drop in fuel price, the airline will be paying more for fuel than it might have done.

The hedging is based on a set amount of fuel. If airlines stop flying, such as due to the COVID-19 crisis, airlines still have to pay for the fuel they hedged even if they don’t use

So, how much of my airline ticket price is because of fuel? As airline flight prices continue to rise, we have probably all wondered how much of that is due to fuel prices, and how much is due to the airline trying to make a larger margin.

Let’s take a look.

Boeing 737-800

Most of our flying is done on single-aisle airliners like the Airbus A-320 and the Boeing 737. We will typically see around 150 passengers on these aircraft.


A typical flight in the USA lasts 2 hours and covers 1,000 miles. Per seat, we have incredible fuel efficiency of 100 miles per gallon; imagine if our cars could achieve that sort of gas mileage.

Aircraft are Super-Efficient

We burn only 5 gallons of fuel per customer per hour.  That is pretty fantastic.

So, on a 1,000 mile flight we burn 10 gallons of gas. Two of these:

5 Gallon

An airline is able to buy fuel at a better price than we can at the gas station. It will be paying around $1 per gallon. So, your two-hour flight is costing $10 in fuel cost. That’s it.


jet fuel prices 2020

A flight between New York and Chicago takes two hours. American will sell us a seat for around $200 Return, Non-Refundable. That’s pretty good value. $10 of fuel each way, comes in at $20 – around 10% of your ticket price.

AA NYC - CHI $215

However, American would prefer that we buy the Refundable seat, that comes in at over $2,000. That’s insane. Our $20 of fuel is only 1% of the ticket price.

AA NYC - CHI $2,058

Travel Insurance Hack

If you ever wondered about the value of a Non-Refundable ticket, this should set your mind at ease. We will take the Non-Refundable seat, add $30 of ‘Cancel for Work Reasons’ Travel Insurance from AARDY, and save ourselves $1,800.


Fuel Burn to Carry our Luggage

So, if it only costs $10 for us to fly for two hours, how much does it cost to send an extra bag? A 35lb bag burns ½ gallon of fuel, which costs $0.50. That’s it – $0.50.

Tumi Suitcase
American Baggage Fees

Luggage Fees Generate Massive Airline Income

When flying with American, the luggage costs start at $25 for the first bag, and rapidly increase to $200 each if you are carrying four bags. $0.50 in fuel can cost $200 in fees.  Be careful when packing for that next trip.

BoT Stats

Last year the Top 25 US Airlines made $4bn in Baggage fees, and $3bn in Reservation change fees. Your heavy extra bag is one of the most profitable lines of business for an airline.

So, Pack Light, Book Non-Refundable, Take out Travel Insurance.

Safe travels.

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