Tightening the Belt

With jet fuel costs soaring, Air Mobility Command is looking for ways to lower the amount of aviation fuel used by the command’s transports and tankers. The command consumes about 27 percent of the total aviation fuel used by the service, based on 2006 data. In that year, AMC used 675 million gallons of jet fuel at a total cost of $1.5 billion—but that was when a gallon cost $2.27. Now with per-gallon prices more than $4, the command would like to build upon the cost-saving initiatives that it has already initiated. One of those involves putting only enough fuel on an aircraft to complete its assigned missions, instead of a standard fuel load. That change has already saved more than $18 million annually and could result in additional savings of $40 million, according to one service report. Air Force officials have said its costs the service an additional $600 million annually for every $10 increase in the cost of a barrel of oil. And back in May, Gen. Norton Schwartz, head of US Transportation Command and identified as the candidate to be the next Chief of Staff, said that already in Fiscal 2008 “the cost of fuel is well over $1 billion over our initial budget projections.” (Includes Scott report by Capt. Jonathan Stock)