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Savings with Autofuel

Does the Airplane You Fly Use Auto Fuel?

In 1982 EAA received approval from the FAA to provide an STC that allowed certain types of aircraft engines to use auto fuel instead of more costly avgas. This was the result of years of research and testing conducted by EAA staff and volunteers.

Recently we featured the development of the EAA Autofuel STC as the topic in an advertisement promoting membership in the association. This advertisement stated that the typical recreational pilot saves an average of $325 per year when they fly an aircraft that uses auto fuel. The fact is also stated that the results of EAA autofuel research save recreational aviators an excess of $11 million each year.

Below is the data that supports these statements:

Auto fuel saves the average recreational aviation pilot $325 / year.
In 1999 data FAA reported 70 hours flown on average by pilots of single engine piston aircraft flown for personal use. However, we elected to use a more conservative figure of 50 hours /year because it reflects the number of hours typically used to describe a recreational pilot.

FAA reports the average single engine piston aircraft consumes 10.8 gallons of fuel per hour.

On September 6, 2001 Fillupflyer.com reported the average price of a gallon of auto fuel sold on airport at $1.88/gallon and the average cost of a gallon of 100 LL selling for $2.53/gallon. There was a $.65 price difference between the costs of these two fuels.
50 hours flown X 10 gallons consumed per hour = 500 gallons of fuel used per year.

500 gallon of fuel X $.65 per gallon price difference between auto fuel and 100LL = $325 saved per year.

The EAA Autofuel STC saved Recreational Aviators more than $11 million during the past year.

Data Points

  • As of September 5, 2001 there were more than 40,000 aircraft that were modified with an autofuel STC. 22,165 of these aircraft were specifically modified with the EAA Autofuel STC.
  • In 1999 the average single engine piston (SEP) aircraft burned 10.8 gallons of fuel per hour of operation. 1
  • In 1999 the average SEP aircraft flew 128 hours. 1
  • FAA reports that 8,907,000 hours were flown in 111,574 personal aircraft in 1999. 1
  • On September 6, 2001 the average on-airport price for a gallon of auto fuel was $1.88 and the average price for a gallon of 100 LL was $2.53 creating a $.65 per gallon price difference.2

Computation

  1. 1. Number of average personal hours flown in single engine piston (SEP) aircraft:
    8,907,000 total hours flown in 111,574 airplanes =
    79.83 average hours per aircraft. 1
  2. 2. Average annual volume of fuel used by each of these airplanes: 79.83 hours flown x 10.8 gallons per hour = 862.16 gallons / year.1
  3. 3. Total gallon of fuel consumed by aircraft with the EAA Autofuel STC: 22,165 STC’d aircraft x 862.16 gallons per aircraft = 19,109,776.4 gallons consumed.1
  4. 4. Total money saved by EAA Autofuel STC’d aircraft in 1999. 19,109,776.4 x $.65 gallon price difference between auto fuel and 100LL = $12,421,345.66. 2

This is a very conservative estimate because…

  • Cost difference used between auto fuel and 100 LL is conservative. $.65 difference is computed from the on-airport cost of auto fuel. Many people who use auto fuel in their airplane purchase the fuel off airport. The off airport cost of a gallon of gas is nearly always lower than the on-airport price.
  • This computation is based only on the 22,000 aircraft modified with the EAA Autofuel STC. There are currently more than 40,000 aircraft that have been STC’d to use auto fuel. Applying these computations to the entire fleet of auto fuel STC’d aircraft would indicate savings in excess of $20 million per year!

(1) www.generalaviation.org
(2) www.fillupflyer.com - Sept. 6, 2001

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