What is the airplane with the lowest fuel efficiency? To set some parameters, let's limit it to the following:

  • Must be manufactured between 1960 and modern day.
  • Must be a non-military passenger airplane.
  • Must use liquid fuel (100LL, Jet-A, etc.)
  • Can be a commercial aircraft or GA airplane, but must be manned and have passenger seats. No helicopters!
  • Spacecraft don't count! (You know you were thinking of this)
  • Must be in the highest standard seat count configuration for the airplane. You cannot take a large jet like an A380, and remove all of the seats save for one!

Fuel efficiency is calculated in pmpg (Passenger miles per gallon), which is the total miles per gallon of the aircraft, divided by the maximum number of seated passengers. This does not include pilot, copilot, or any associated crew as passengers.

Please link back to credible sources, and show how you arrived at your pmpg in terms of mpg and passenger count.

  • $\begingroup$ helicopters of course hell yeah. Like I said, if you mean airplane, say airplane. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 15:47
  • $\begingroup$ @user3528438 Good catch - added that disclaimer! $\endgroup$
    – M28
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 16:01
  • $\begingroup$ Still, IMO, a bit too broad. The Cessna 172 (GA SEP aircraft) can also have 2-3 passengers. Maybe limit to turbine powered or some minimum weight / passengers count? $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 16:02
  • $\begingroup$ You might want to change it to "lowest best fuel efficiency". That'd fix many of the loopholes like helicopters and passenger count. $\endgroup$
    – kevin
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 16:10
  • $\begingroup$ @Matt you might want to look at Concorde / Tu-144 or a business jet as the worst in terms of miles per gallon per passenger. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 16:12

2 Answers 2


TU-144 = 9.78 passenger mpg

TU-144 figures found on another forum, from an official flight planning document: https://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1355819#p19483811


By comparison the TU-104A = 15.88 passenger mpg

From an old Aviation Week story on the TU-104: http://aviationweek.com/blog/tupolev-104-harsh-proof-rapid-soviet-progress-1956

Using that article and assuming 0.8 l per kg and 20% reserve, imperial gallons. These figures (especially TU-104A) are rough and would vary by loading and flight profile.

  • $\begingroup$ I was immediately thinking of the Concorde but yes the Tu144 would probably be even worse :D $\endgroup$
    – Jan
    Commented Nov 9, 2018 at 21:31

In production: Depending on the configuration its likely to be some variant of the Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) this is the blanket term for the companies line of custom built aircraft. Many of these are large aircraft built to cary, in some cases, one person. Their fuel to passenger ratio is pretty bad. Lets take take a look at the biggest private Boeing BBJ, this 747-8, which burns 9.9 kg/km (35 lb/mi) or 5.1 Gallons Per Mile, lets say there are 30 people on board that puts at 5.88 PMPG assuming the owner has a few friends.

Out of production: The Concorde burned 5,638 gallons (38338.4 LBS) of fuel an hour and served plenty of charter missions with light passenger loads. The Concorde cruised around Mach 2.02 at altitude that computes to ~1155 Kts which puts them right at 4.88 Gallons Per Nautical Mile, lets assume a light charter load of ~30 passengers (eluded to in the above linked podcast) that brings you 6.15 PMPG

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @RonBeyer I had found that article but after some more digging it appears the plane never really came to be. $\endgroup$
    – Dave
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 18:17
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    $\begingroup$ This doesn't answer the question regarding pmpg. $\endgroup$
    – M28
    Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 18:36
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    $\begingroup$ @Joshua I wasn't saying that - I was saying that his answer does not answer within the confines of my question. Plus, the Concorde burned 5,638gph, and traveled 1,354mph, which gives you ~0.24mpg, and with it's passenger configuration of 128 passengers, that's ~30pmpg, far from being the "most inefficient" aircraft, particularly when you take into account ~60's era GA airplanes. If you say "served light loads", then literally any plane would be inefficient when it's doing an empty flight. It's a non-answer. $\endgroup$
    – M28
    Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 14:19
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    $\begingroup$ The question asks for aircraft in maximum passenger capacity configuraton -- so for, say, a Cessna 182, that would be four passengers (plus pilot and copilot). $\endgroup$
    – Zeiss Ikon
    Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 14:31
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    $\begingroup$ @JuanJimenez No it doesn't - the question specifically asks for pmpg, and that is not referenced anywhere in this question. Nor do his suggestions follow the criteria laid out. $\endgroup$
    – M28
    Commented Oct 31, 2018 at 15:45

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