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Old Mar 28, 2012, 02:25 PM
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E-Challenged's Avatar
United States, CA, Garden Grove
Joined Oct 2000
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Fuel Efficiency-Light Plane Vs Small Car

I'd like to know in general terms how a modern lightplane like a Cessna 172, compares to a modern smallish car in fuel efficiency both travelling in calm air and level flight at, say 90mph. I have read about specialized composite magterials aircraft getting 50mpg.
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Old Mar 29, 2012, 06:30 PM
If it flies, I crash it!
dlazarus6660's Avatar
USA, NH, Londonderry
Joined Nov 2006
913 Posts
No comparison! I own a Hyundai Accent, 30 MPG, holds 11 gallons, will get 350 miles per tankful at 65 mph.
I fly a 1965 Piper Cherokee 180hp that gets 10 Gallons per hour. It holds 50 gallons total, will go 350 to 400 miles per tankfuls. (two tanks, one in each wing). I flew last week four one hour. It cost $65.00 to top off the tank.
Plane is twice as fast as the car, four-five times more expensive!
I won't discuss the other expenses in aircraft ownership except the plane spends most of its time on the ground costing $!
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Old Apr 05, 2012, 03:27 PM
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Joined Jul 2006
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Have to look at things a little different.

The Airplane saves some time, and may save gas depending on the route. If you can fly for an hour and get to the destination, or drive for 3 in traffic, the plane might well be more efficient.

What is the real fuel cost to the destination?
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Old Apr 13, 2012, 11:05 AM
me, right now.
hooligan russ's Avatar
United States, NC, Clayton
Joined Nov 2009
498 Posts
lets say you want to go 300 miles.

In a car averaging 60mph and 30mpg = 5 hours and 10 gallons of gas ($40 of gas) $4/gal

In an aircraft average 120mph and 10gph = 2.5 hours and 25 gallons of gas ($125 for gas) $5/gal

However all kinds of variables can be thrown into these calculations including weather conditions, wind, maintenance and insurance costs, and even parking or hangar costs. The figures I used are just rough estimates for aircraft fuel burn and speed.

If you want to fly, buying a commercial ticket would be cheaper, but the car is the most efficient.

Some small light sport aircraft i.e. zenith zodiac, sonex, sonerai, vans aircraft, can average 30mpg at 4 gph, but not all the time.
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Last edited by hooligan russ; Apr 13, 2012 at 11:11 AM.
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