Let's hope the <$4 avgas prices are here to
stay for a while
with the latest round of OPEC production committments. Yeah, now that we have found a
bunch of energy reserves in our own country they are trying to drive the
investment out of supporting those efforts. Let's hope we stay the course and
require less and less oil from countries that don't like us.
It's a great day in July 2016
to be a Baron gas buyer at Denton, TX (KDTO)
Meanwhile, let's all enjoy the ~$3.00/gal avgas
Maybe you have an auto fuel STC? If so, maybe
this will be coming to an airport near you?
Let's be more like Europe? I DON'T THINK SO!!! DO the math and
this looks like $15/gallon
Take a walk down memory lane with me to 100LL
pricing in January 2002. We still have a ways to go before we get to this level,
but we can hope can't we???
KZPH Fuel Pricing January 2002
Here is another memory lane
picture for Beloit, Wisconsin (44C)
Here's an outdated chart created by Beech
Lister, Nathan U., on historical 100LL Price Trends vs. unleaded auto fuel and
the crude oil price. Our 100LL seems to be tracking true to the same levels we
saw back in 2007.
Here is a post dated 2/7/2011 on
BeechTalk regarding aviation fuel pricing history by Bonanza owner, Max G.,
that may shed some light on part of where our 100LL pricing dilemma lies:
You know you are getting ripped off if fuel prices are at
$8.45. Do these people at Teterboro really want to sell
fuel, or are New York area pilots just insensitive to
Lowest price in the U.S.:
Louisiana 3F3 $3.29
Highest prices in the U.S.:
TEB First Aviation Services, Inc. $7.82
TEB Atlantic Aviation $8.41
TEB KTEB Signature Flight Support $8.45
Accept the fact that in any business gross profit
dollars is the most important measuring
stick...dollars pay overhead and, hopefully, are greater
than expenses and, if so, yield a profit.
For a long, long, time I have held off about venting on
100LL fuel margins. I spent about 25 years in the
wholesale/retail fuel business with 65,000,000 gallons
annual volume in my last venture many years ago. I learned
the business. I learned how to manage price for the best
price/volume ratio for maximum profit.
I guess I'll post on avgas now. In the "old days" profit
margin was on a cents per gallon basis. On that basis if
one paid $.30 for fuel he was happy with a $.10/gallon
profit and sold fuel for $.40. When fuel cost went to $.40
the same person was happy with a selling price of $.50,
still a dime per gallon profit.
Later, fuel was sold like other retail products, on a
margin % of the selling price. If cost was $.75 and
selling price was $1.00 the profit margin was 25%.
Thirty years went by and aviation fuel costs rose
gradually until the cost of a tanker load, with taxes, was
about $1.75 per gallon. Business graduates with profit
"margin", instead of cents per gallon, became the norm.
However, a lot of these business school educated airport
managers/FBO's were still happy with a cents per gallon
that yielded a 25% margin and, subsequently, they sold
fuel for about $2.35 per gallon. Many sold it for $1.99,
happy to make $.24 per gallon while selling a good volume
Radical changes occurred in the mid-2,000 era. Fuel prices
went up/down by a dollar or two in less than a year. FBO's
made a killing at times, and realized a profit margin of
40~50% for a year or so. Since that time many of these
people have not relinquished their margin %, and for a
long time their volume has not suffered because uneducated
to the fuel business /well-heeled pilots/owners have just
"paid the price". Let's hope the high priced FBO's volumes
shrink until they feel compelled to lower price to achieve
a more balanced volume:profit margin ratio, and more
Most of the airports in the U.S., during the radical fuel
price fluctuations, got comfortable with making $1~$2 per
gallon and they don't want to give it up, even now,
several years later. The result is very high prices that
yield a cents per gallon profit of $2 or more and a margin
of 40% to 60%.
What do I think is a fair price for avgas? I still think
on a cents per gallon basis, and feel that $.50/gallon is
a good and reasonable profit that will yield volume and
sufficient gross profit dollars. In today's market that
equates to approximately $3.99 selling price. However,
all, or most, FBO's don't think as I do, and price their
fuel with a higher margin/mark-up, so, I fly to those
places with less expensive fuel. Yesterday I flew to
Middlesboro, KY, and filled my tanks with fuel at a price
of $3.85. I was going to burn some fuel anyway, with a fun
flight, and when I put almost 60 gallons of fuel in my
plane I saved almost $50 over my home base airport's fuel
price. Song: "When will they every learn, when will....".
I wish I lived closer to 3F3, the least expensive airport
for fuel today.
What can we do to keep fuel costs at a reasonable level?
Don't patronize those with
higher prices. Encourage your friends to do the same. Plan
trips, long and short ones, with a stop at an airport with
more reasonable pricing. It's simple, if there are no
sales the price will be lowered (What is the alternative?
Quit? Lower price?).
_________________ Max G.
Way to go Max! We'll try to get the word
If you are making a stop
for fuel give the field a call to confirm their operating hours and that their
pumps are working and they have fuel for the price you are expecting!
Here is a cartoon editorial from AOPA in 1947
that shows that in many places not much has changed
Reject outlandish fuel prices at every
possible opportunity and put a stop to the price gouging that hinders operating
hours in GA.
Hopefully your area will start to see lower
100LL prices really soon. I guess it's one of the side effects of being in a
I encourage all Beechcraft owners to take this
opportunity to get out and polish up on your flight proficiency, exercise your
airplane's engine(s) and in general enjoy the flying you've put off due to high
Here's my buddy Dave topping off for his
hangar at Bridgeport, TX just before the drop to $2.99, late in 2008. We are
hoping this same 2011 price run up will be followed by a glut of oil inventory
and a big drop in prices just like we experienced in 2008. Stay tuned!
Price Celebration Fly-In of November 8th, 2008. I've never seen so many happy smiley
faces when topping off! The Baron drivers were especially beaming. See
thumbnails below. Click each for the full-size image:
Ed Livermore takes on 80+ gallons CK's
Baron Gets the Sidewinder
Three Happy Baron Owners
CK's in 100LL Heaven The Mob Let's an RV Get Some Chester is
"Calling All Beechcraft!"
Chester Had to Take a "Doggie Bag"
A great meal was had at Pronto's Italian
Restaurant down the road. The owner even came to pick us all up. Give them a
call (940-683-3733) if the courtesy car is not there. The food is great, the
portions are great and the meal prices are CSOB approved.
Check out the collection of favorite
Beechcraft fly-in eateries HERE