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Despite falling oil prices, fuel remains quite expensive and a huge cost for airlines. As carriers continue making strides towards higher profits and more efficient aircraft, airlines are trying to find ways to improve the bottom line. As a result, it’s no shock that they’re exploring options to make their dollar go farther with fuel.

United Airlines made news last year with the announcement of its new project to power planes with biofuels. These plans finally came to fruition last week as it became the first US-based carrier to use biofuel on a regularly scheduled flight. The biofuel-powered 737 will fly between Los Angeles and San Francisco four to five times per day.


While United is touting the technology as biofuel, it’s really a blend composed of 30% biofuel (created from natural oils and agricultural waste) and 70% petroleum fuel. Nonetheless, the new blend will reportedly reduce emissions by as much as 60% compared to the usual alternative.

This new technology isn’t a permanent change though, at least not yet — this initial service will only run for the next two weeks. Moreover, United agreed to buy up to 15 million gallons of biofuel over the next three years — a tiny portion compared to the airline’s fuel use worldwide, so don’t expect this to be commonplace soon. In 2014, Southwest Airlines also announced that it would be using a blended product with an expected delivery in 2016.

H/T: LA Times

Would you fly United’s biofuel-powered 737?

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