Perhaps you didn’t expect it with the attention on prices at the gas pumps for automobiles during the past year, but in the aviation world, Jet A prices have been climbing even more rapidly than precious 100LL avgas. In April, the U.S. average price for a gallon of jet fuel exceeded that for a gallon of avgas for the first time ever, according to Globalair.com, which tracks average fuel prices in aviation.
The trend has continued so far in May. Now, Jet A fuel is about $0.33 per gallon higher than avgas, excluding the cost of any additives like Prist, an anti-icing agent required in some aircraft for high-altitude operations. GlobalAir’s data suggests the least expensive place to buy either aviation fuel is the Central region of the U.S. as defined by the NBAA, which is in fact the only region still showing 100LL below the $6.00 mark, at $5.90 per gallon compared to Jet A at $6.15. Compare that to a Jet A average price of $7.96 in the New England region, and perhaps a mid-continent stop to “tanker up” starts to make sense for you cross-country Lear drivers out there.
As for the question of why Jet-A prices are spiking, well, there’s little good intelligence. Fuel companies, for obvious reasons, refrain from discussing pricing issues, other than to say they are caused by supply issues. In this case, however, it’s not clear why 100LL isn’t following the same trend line or if it’s only a matter of time until it goes even higher in price, too.
For those of us still cracking the whip behind a handful of rowdy pistons, the squeeze on Jet A brings no relief; 100LL shows a nationwide average of $6.59 per gallon for full service. That brings up the opportunity for a pro tip: Prepare your plane to make life easier at Self-Service pumps, where you may realize savings of more than $1.00 per gallon with a little sweat equity. A supply of gloves, a quality towbar and your own set of chocks can all make a difference.