A Boeing 747 has a maximum fuel capacity of 48,445 U.S. gal (183,380 L). The average American light-duty car in 2009 got around 24 miles per gallon. The circumference of the Earth is 24,901 miles (40,075 km).

This means that one full 747’s worth of gas could drive you around the Earth **46 and a half times!**

Here’s the math:

48,445 gal*(24 miles/gal)=1,162,680 miles

1,162,680 miles/24,901 miles= 46.6 times around the Earth.

Talk about a poor mpg rating: According to Boeing’s Web site, the 747 burns approximately **5 gallons of fuel per mile** (12 liters per kilometer).

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Kenneth Benjamin

said:The fuel economy of the 747 isn’t bad, and is actually quite good, if you compare passenger miles/gallon.

Assuming the typical light-duty car carries 4 people comfortably on average, that means a gallon of gas moves 96 passenger miles/gallon. (24 mpg x 4 passengers).

The 747, seating 416 and flying at around 8x the speed of the car, comes in at 83.2 passenger miles/gallon (.2 mpg x 416 passengers).

Add in the fact that airplanes fly a much shorter route than a car can go, can fly over water, canyons, and mountains, and the math tips heavily in favor of the 747.

Add the fact that most of us drive alone and most flights fairly full these days and the math is even more extreme in favor of the 747.

I’m not here to defend the 747 but if you’re going to use statistics, put them in context ;)

Kyle Hill

said:Good point. Taking into account the passenger load is something I neglected to mention. I was mainly trying to point out the absurd volume of fuel that one of these planes can carry.

Kenneth Benjamin

said:Isn’t everything about a 747 absurd? Absurdly huge, heavy, fast, etc. An impressive machine, for sure. Even the fact that they’re still making them over 40 years since the first one is absurd.

That said, I’m glad I’m not the one having to pump the gas and pay the bill. What is that, around $200,000 per fillup?

Keep up the good work :)