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This big SUV really gets bad mileage

Brief by Allen Best

Transportation – October 2008 – Colorado Central Magazine

Bummed about the 12 miles per gallon your SUV gets when gas is $4 to $5 a gallon? Think of what it’s like to hurtle across the landscape in a Gulfstream, the airplane of choice for many billionaires.

The newest Gulfstream, the G-V, burns 400 gallons of fuel per hour in the air, and more when taking off.

The math of traveling by Gulfstream, which is among the most fuel-efficient of private jets, is staggering, points out the Aspen Times’s Scott Condon. He interviewed Cliff Runge, former operator of a business that serviced private aircraft at the Aspen Airport.

“On an average three-hour trip, a GV will burn 7,000 pounds of fuel and travel approximately 1,500 miles,” Runge said. That works out to 1.5 miles per gallon.

The economics look better with eight passengers, with the Gulfstream getting about as good as a single-occupant Hummer.

All of this matters now that Aspen has staked out a path to shrink its carbon footprint.

An inventory conducted by the city government, as part of its Canary Initiative, found that 44 percent of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions were caused by air transportation, with about half of that the result of private jets.

A new study conducted by the airport found a much smaller direct carbon footprint, partly because many people traveling to and from Aspen use other airports. The airport figured only one part of a round-trip should be credited to Aspen, whereas the city’s inventory included both legs of the round-trip.