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Pennies at a time: switching to a different jet fuel projected to save the air force $40 million annually.

Saving 2 cents a gallon on gasoline might not sound like a big deal, ... unless you're the U.S. Air Force and you buy millions and millions of gallons of the stuff every year. In that case, the savings can really add up.

The Air Force, including the Air Force Reserve, is currently in the process of switching from JP-8 to Jet A fuel with additives for nearly all of its aircraft. JP-8 is the current military specification jet fuel, while Jet A is the commercial standard jet fuel. Since Jet A fuel is available from more sources, it costs on average a couple of pennies less per gallon than JP-8.

The Air Force says a 2-cent drop in price per gallon could save taxpayers about $40 million annually when it completes the switch from JP-8 to Jet A at all of its locations in the continental United States. The jet fuel conversion does not include the U-2 or the Global Hawk weapon systems and does not include bases outside the continental United States.

The service began the switch from JP-8 to Jet A after an Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century initiative approved in May 2008. The Defense Logistics Agency's energy office and the Air Force Petroleum Agency began the initiative in November 2009 by performing a demonstration at four Air Force locations, including Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport Air Reserve Station in Minnesota, home of the Reserve's 934th Airlift Wing, to show the capability to convert from the current military specification jet fuel to the commercial standard jet fuel.

JP-8 and Jet A are both kerosene-based aviation fuels. They have the same energy content, density range and flash point. The difference in the two fuels is their freezing points--minus 40 degrees Celsius for Jet A and minus 47 degrees Celsius for JP-8. JP-8 contains three fuel additives: a fuel system icing inhibitor, which lowers the freezing point of water that's inherently found in fuel and which inhibits the growth of microbes; a static dissipater additive; and a corrosion inhibitor/lubricity improver.

Earlier this year, Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Ga., became the second Air Force Reserve Command-host base to make the switch from JP-8 to Jet A. All of the Reserve's other host bases are scheduled to make the switch later this year. The Air Force is hoping to have all of its bases switched over by sometime in 2015.

"The conversion is going smoothly," said Master Sgt. Jason Maine, the fuels function manager at AFRC headquarters, Robins Air Force Base, Ga. "There isn't much difference in the two fuels. In fact, they can be intermixed in the same tank without any quality issues. Jet A is just a little cheaper and available from more sources, so it makes sense for the Air Force to make the switch."

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Title Annotation:Saving Millions ...
Author:Joyner, Bo
Publication:Citizen Airman
Date:Apr 1, 2014
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