How Fuel Efficient Is An Airplane?

September 6, 2019

– Hi, I’m Cristen, and this is Brain Stuff. When you think about it,
airplanes are pretty much amazing. Despite their weight, these
enormous metal contraptions can lift hundreds of people into the air, and most of the time
they can do this safely if not kind of comfortably. Take the Boeing 747-8, for example. It has a maximum takeoff
weight of 487.5 tons. Now for comparison, that’s
about the same weight as almost 140 average
sized African elephants, and that’s a bunch of weight to move, and the engines need a lot
of fuel to make that happen. But how much fuel do they need, exactly? Now before we answer that, let’s ask another question. Why should we care? Well, fuel efficiency and
fuel cost is part of how an airline determines ticket prices. So a more efficient
airline can theoretically result in lower ticket prices for you. Let’s look at a plane
on an international trip to see how much fuel it uses per person. And since we’re dealing
with a lot of numbers, let’s set it up this way. I’ll use US standard measurements, but since the rest of the
world uses the metric system, we’ll pop those up on the screen too. So save those comments for something else. So here we go, we’re ready for takeoff. A plane like the 747-8 can carry around 63,034 gallons of fuel, giving it the ability to
make extremely long flights. So flying from, say, LA
to Australia is no problem as long as it’s gassed up. However, the plane uses approximately one gallon of fuel every second, and this means that over the
course of a 10-hour flight, it might burn 36,000 gallons of fuel, which sounds like a lot, right? Now, according to
Boeing, this works out to approximately five
gallons of fuel per mile when the plane is in flight. And at first this might
sound like the plane gets a terrible miles per gallon
rating and isn’t very efficient, but let’s remember that the 747-8 isn’t some four-door sedan. It can carry as many as 568 people on a very uncomfortable flight. So how does all that
fuel work out per person? Well, let’s say, for
example, that there are 500 people on a plane. So a 747-8 is transporting 500 people one mile using five gallons of fuel. This means that the plane
is burning about .01 gallons per person per mile. In other words, the plane is getting 100 miles per gallon per person. For comparison, the
typical car gets around 25 miles per gallon. So in this respect, the
747 is actually much better than a car carrying one person, and compares favorably even if there are four people in the car. Now of course, this isn’t
exactly an apples to apples comparison for a number of reasons. But still, 100 miles per gallon per person isn’t all that bad when you consider that the 747 is flying at
about 550 miles per hour. So how about you? How fuel efficient is your private plane? Let us know in the comments below. And don’t forget to like and
subscribe to Brain Stuff. And hey, you should also
check out my channel, Stuff Mom Never Told You.

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  • Reply steveq34 June 7, 2017 at 8:03 pm

    A380 would've been the best reference for a big AC

  • Reply Spinnetti June 10, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    A good homebuilt near 200mph can still get around 30mpg.. try that in any car at that speed!

  • Reply Ajay Yadav June 11, 2017 at 6:16 pm

    You Forgot about commercial cargo which planes carry

  • Reply kritarth seth June 13, 2017 at 4:57 am

    Even if you pop up metric system on the screen, it doesn't really make it any better. Metric system is good because its standardized, and easier to understand. Since the starting point is Imperial system, even conversions end up in weird places (eg. 1760 yards in a mile; even gallon can be Imperial gallon or US liquid gallon). Also, the calculations were wrong.

  • Reply Pranay Gawas June 14, 2017 at 10:26 am

    metric system !

  • Reply basant vimal sharma June 15, 2017 at 6:40 am

    and air plane requires no fuel.just say the hindu mantra and it will go . controlled by the mind.why they fill fuel i do not flight no fuel just say fly and the bugger will fly.

  • Reply Harsha Acharya June 15, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    retarded units

  • Reply Railfan Steve June 17, 2017 at 3:27 am

    JEesus christ a train can go 500 miles with a gallon it locks like planes need generators

  • Reply habib syed June 19, 2017 at 10:34 am

    She is annoyingly so awkward.

  • Reply americanswan July 16, 2017 at 9:15 am

    there are two types of countries in the world. Those who use metric and those who put a man on the moon.

  • Reply CRAMATIONS DAM September 6, 2017 at 3:20 am

    I have a simple formula just calculate the engine efficiency and put 10percencet more fuel in engine tank so it landed safely

  • Reply Mastacheifa 118 September 17, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    Displays metric and customary units on screen to prevent hate… only to receive more hate.

  • Reply Elias Dolinsek September 21, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    787, 777 and A350 has a much lower fuel burn per person than the 748!

  • Reply Damien Tong September 25, 2017 at 3:51 am

    What if the plane is full of fat people

  • Reply N SR September 29, 2017 at 3:20 pm

    Nice explanation… but annoying background music.. the music alone was making me want to skip the video.

  • Reply Ken Bellchambers October 2, 2017 at 11:48 pm

    Jet aircraft were obsolete from the start. Hugh altitude heat deposition is already too big a problem for safety. Pushing massive volumes of superheated pollution into a frigid zone has frightful consequences on weather, creating super storms. Jet air craft contrails are not composed of water vapour and ice crystals. they consist of smog from burned kerosene, gasoline, aluminium oxide, and ten additives. The jet engine consumes and pollutes massive quantities of atmosphere as it passes through the engine, and the hot expanding contrail condenses massive quantities of water vapour as it descends.
    All of this water vapour and atmospheric gas are contaminated by post combustion by-products. Jet aircraft also rake ozone and water vapour from high altitudes to lower altitudes resulting in loss of ozone from the upper layers of the atmosphere where it normally stays and blocks U.V. radiation, to lower levels where it acts as a corrosive herbicide. The immense quantities of polluted water vapour constitute acid rain, which not only is carcinogenic, but result in drought due to the high-altitude water vapour being dragged to lower levels where it is dispersed.
    Air traffic is rapidly expanding as more and more Asians get enough wealth to afford jet holidays, and the atmosphere is already showing signs of reaching the breaking point. Jet air travel is fatal to the health of the entire biosphere. Look up, most of what you see are ordinary persistent jet contrails, not chemtrails. Add chemtrails to the equation, and we have a double disaster.

  • Reply Peter November 4, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    You are looking at this from a human perspective, which is very understandable. But if you want to consider the impact of air travel on the environment (or – for global warming skeptics – on the depletion of our oil reserves), it is also not correct. You see, the environment doesn't care if you travel 100km or 1000km. It only cares about how much CO2 and other gases it has to deal with in a certain amount of time. So rather than calculating the fuel consumption per unit of distance, consider the fuel consumption per unit of time. Yes, an airplane is far more efficient than a typical car per kilometer, but the airplane covers that kilometer in far less time. Say a typical plane flies ten times as fast as a typical car (should be about correct). Now you can see that an hour in a plane is far worse for the environment than an hour in a car, let alone an hour in a train. And you wouldn't do a 10000km car ride in the first place, because it would take forever. Well, maybe a few people would, but otherwise, no. Which actually helps the environment even more.

    Also, while airplanes are now about twice as efficient as the first jets, there are far more airplanes in the sky to begin with. All in all, it seems that we find ever faster ways of getting through our oil and dumping CO2 and other gases into the atmosphere. Not that it's all bad. But like I said, it depends on your perspective. And I do feel this perspective should be getting more attention.

    So I just hope that part of what is happening is that these environmentally-unfriendly flights are bringing together people from all over the planet to come up with a solution for this problem.

  • Reply G Thomas December 7, 2017 at 6:35 pm

    Despite the differences in British English and American English, the video was very well presented and was easy to understand and follow, I was glad you showed the metric as well as mentioning the old world imperial, it helped.

  • Reply Kumar Falguni Sahoo December 31, 2017 at 9:13 am

    Very good.

  • Reply Anton Kalliokoski January 11, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    first thank's for showing the non-retarded units but please make the km/l to 100L/KM

  • Reply Moe Osman January 14, 2018 at 7:36 am

    wtf is a gallon? why do these neanderthals still use gallons? pisses me off lol

  • Reply Nice-oscar March 14, 2018 at 3:12 am


  • Reply Aliyu Ahmed April 10, 2018 at 9:20 am

    my private plane in GTA has unlimited fuel. Very fuel efficient

  • Reply baka baka April 28, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    Hmm interesting.

  • Reply Kevin McCune May 16, 2018 at 9:59 am

    Not nearly as efficient as a good train, of course, we have the added benefit of injecting all those nice combustion byproducts directly into the stratosphere

  • Reply Rajeev Ranjan May 26, 2018 at 5:33 pm

    Very bad explanation 😲😲

  • Reply DragonView.CH Tandem Paragliding Flying Adventure Switzerland June 5, 2018 at 1:05 pm

    There are 1.64 km to a 1 mile. Not 0.6km per mile as in this video. Also if you include big suitcases for 4 persons, and hand carry on luggage, you will need a van not a car. Please focus bit more on the accuracy of the content.

  • Reply Wissam Sakre June 9, 2018 at 8:54 pm

    I like your video nice job
    But you should give an extra time for the numbers you go fast and it's is confusing

  • Reply Nicky Surr June 11, 2018 at 1:14 am

    white stripes really? GREEN SCREEN…
    we still need to see how the planes are refueling… lol…show us
    the other agent of urs (jayZ) says same crap as u do

  • Reply Randall Lannon June 28, 2018 at 5:01 am

    They do not use fuel Van!!!!

  • Reply Bhimesh chowdhary September 11, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    Units suck

  • Reply Karl E November 22, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    So you didn't think to include takeoff, climbing, descent, landing and taxi? And what about medium sized planes? It's much more common with around 100-200 passengers. I mean I do get your point but you kind of missed something important.

  • Reply navylaks2 November 24, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    but how does a plane compare to a helicopter considering that E = m*v^2

  • Reply AbdulJakool SalSalani December 2, 2018 at 12:34 am

    I wanna eat her smelly pussy!!

  • Reply Édouard Murdoch December 20, 2018 at 11:09 pm

    In the metric system, we usualy use L/100km and not km/L.

  • Reply whatsgoingon07 January 3, 2019 at 3:36 am

    So why don’t Boeing develop 2 passenger planes to replace the car?

  • Reply فارس January 11, 2019 at 11:57 am

    My engine is fueled by anxiety and boy is it the most abundant fuel ever.

  • Reply jatt4life10 January 17, 2019 at 3:47 am

    How about using measurement system that rest of the world uses and keeping your American system away?

  • Reply J & J April 3, 2019 at 10:34 pm

    with 63,034 Gallons of fuel, 238,610 litres, can you tell us all what the weight of the fuel is alone. That plus the plane, passengers and baggage, how does it even lift off the ground. Seems odd to us. If water weighs 1kg per litre. 238,610 litres equals . They say aeroplane fuel weighs .81kg/litre. 238610 litres x .81kg equals 193274.1kg. how do it lift off?

  • Reply cammandoookhalsha skyblue captain junior April 30, 2019 at 7:48 am

    fucking bullshit

  • Reply gmcjetpilot April 30, 2019 at 6:04 pm

    And the Jet is going 12 times as fast as the car. Inefficient general aviation aircraft can get about 25 miles per gallon and hold for people, and go at least two to three times faster than a car

  • Reply sean darke May 4, 2019 at 6:46 pm

    I have a question I haven’t seen the video yet but what about versus the helicopter I don’t know if you’ve covered that I might find out in a few minutes LOL I just had a question first

  • Reply TimeGamingToday May 9, 2019 at 8:22 am

    Your math is wrong.

    1 gallons per second

    1 mile per 5 gallons

    1/5=0.2 miles per sec
    0.2*60=12 miles min
    12*60=720 miles per hour
    720 mph with no air resistance.

    How long have you been based in California?

  • Reply Xsauce June 6, 2019 at 9:34 pm

    My private plane is all electric… jokes on you.

  • Reply Zachary Imus July 20, 2019 at 3:04 am

    Compressed air engines peace out friends

  • Reply Mr. One Nine Seven Five July 20, 2019 at 3:32 pm

    Speaking about gallons and miles verbally and showing litres and kilometres on the screen is a terrible idea. please don't do it again. It was confusing.

  • Reply Hiram Abiff From Sirius August 19, 2019 at 9:46 am

    I heard 5 gallons per mile to fly a bunch of business class schleps desperate to press the flesh and transmit Ebola and visit Thailand while polluting the upper atmosphere. Ok…

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