Between a Rock and Hard Place:

Air Combat Command is paying 31 percent more for aviation fuel today than a year ago, raising the price from $1.74 per gallon to $2.53 per gallon. This is the second year in a row that ACC has faced a high fuel bill. In Fiscal 2005, the command paid $1.4 billion more for fuel than it had in 2004. On top of the higher fuel costs, ACC officials say a tighter budget has led the Air Force to reduce its flying hour budget for training by 10 percent a year from Fiscal 2008 to 2013. However, ACC flying-hour program analyst John Cilento says ACC already programs “the minimum requirements to train our aircrews, so any reduction is a loss of an already maxed out training capability.” ACC is looking at two potential, but long-term solutions: high-fidelity simulators and coal-to-jet-fuel research.