Two cent difference saves AF, Travis AFB millions

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By Senior Airman Bryan Swink, 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs / Published August 19, 2014

TRAVIS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFNS) --

Travis Air Force Base has jumped on board an Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century initiative set in place in 2008 that will eventually save the Air Force and Department of Defense millions of dollars each year.

Recently, Travis AFB personnel switched aircraft from using JP-8, a military specification fuel, to Jet A fuel, which is more widely available and less expensive. The current cost difference between the two types of fuel might not seem astronomical at two cents per gallon, but when talking about millions of gallons, the savings rise quickly.

Travis AFB is the second-largest fuel consuming base in the Air Force with approximately 4.5 million gallons issued to aircraft every month. Add the cost savings up and Travis AFB will save more than a million dollars each year.

"As of August 8, we will have converted 80 percent of the (continental United States) Air Force locations to commercial Jet A with the same three additives as JP-8," said Staff Sgt. Lee'Etta Norman, a 60th Logistics Readiness Squadron fuels service center accountant. "We anticipate being at 100 percent by the beginning of November."

For those installations that have switched to Jet A from JP-8, the transition has not caused any maintenance or operational concerns. From October 2009 to June 2014, the Air Force has consumed more than 1.45 billion gallons of Jet A fuel, which constitutes more than 490,000 aircraft refueling at Air Force and commercial airport locations.

"Since the standard price of the fuel changed in June 2011, the Air Force has saved more than $15 million in a little more than three years based on the 2 cent difference," Norman said.

JP-8 and Jet A are kerosene-based aviation fuels that have the same density range, energy content and flashpoint, and can be blended at any ratio. The primary difference between the two is the specification fuel freezing point. The fuel freezing point requirement for Jet A is warmer at a maximum of minus 40-degrees Celsius while JP-8 has a specification fuel freezing point of minus 47-degrees Celsius, according to the Air Force Petroleum Agency.

"The DOD is converting CONUS fuel stocks from JP-8 to commercial Jet A with additives because JP-8, as a military specification fuel, requires specialized refining processes," said Staff Sgt. Ricky Anthony, the 60th LRS base fuels laboratory NCO in charge. "By tapping into the larger commercial Jet A market, the DOD can take advantage of more suppliers allowing for more competitive sourcing, increasing procurement competition to reduce fuel costs and resulting in increased operational flexibility."

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