One other reason why I use less fuel than the average is that I tend not to drive very fast.Â I’m not as slow as Jayne likes to make out, its just that I go more for gentle acceleration and braking than certain other people in this household.Â What I did not know, having never really thought about it, is that the same thing applies to planes.
Stewart Mader’s blog drew attention to this story in Business Week about airlines cutting the speed of their flights to save on fuel.Â In their case the savings can be quite dramatic when they accumulate.Â As an example, one flight from Paris to Minneapolis was extended by 8 minutes by flying at an average of 532mph instead of 542mph which saved $535 by saving 162 gallons of fuel.
OK.Â 162 gallons is not a lot for a plane, especially when its only American gallons, but it all adds up. Southwest Airlines is expecting to save $42 million dollars this year by adding a couple of minutes to flights. Not bad for a speed reduction of less than 2%Â Those savings will probably get negated by price rises, but even so its a good thing.
Just as important is the amount of fuel saved.Â By my calculations, which means they are probably wrong, just that one airline is expecting to use 12.7 million gallons less this year.Â Multiply that by all the other airlines, and even shave a few more mph off average speeds and thats a huge saving.