The Impact of Rising Fuel Prices on Air Travel

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A major conversation that has bubbled up over the last couple of weeks is the surety that gas prices are going to rise. Pundits are warning that gas could easily hit $5 a gallon this summer, making for a difficult travel season. Which raises the question for us here about the impact rising oil prices will have on the cost of international travel. According to a story in Aviation Week, the impact on airline ticket prices is probably still a ways off – one expert predicts that consumers won’t feel the impact in ticket prices until gasoline reaches $6 a gallon.

That’s probably not going to happen in the next couple months, but it very possibly could happen down the road. And that means that more airlines are going to be exploring alternative fuels and other means of ethical travel. At CNNGO, Hiufu Wong writes about “green air travel.” Some cool things are happening on this front – Etihad Airlines recently flew from Seattle to Abu Dhabi using a combination of traditional jet fuel and recycled vegetable oil. KLM Airlines operated 200 biofuel flights in 2011. However, while airline Cathay Pacific has projected that in 20 years biofuels could cost half as much as traditional fuel, today they are significantly more expensive. But it seems that at least some airlines are committed to experimenting with innovative ways to find a more sustainable path over the long haul.

Photo by Susan von Struensee.

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