Published on January 29th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan1
Know Your MPG: Air Travel
Fuel economy of flights on travel websites? While the idea may seem far-fetched at first, its equivalent on the ground has been around for many years: Governments require it, car manufacturers and dealerships advertise it, and you probably know yours: MPG.
Most travelers generally understand that flying is very energy-intensive, but there is little information as to which factors come into play: Is it the speed of travel? Or aircraft age? Airlines themselves have an economic interest in fuel economy and so it seems surprising that the public knows so little about it.
A young start-up company called Calasi has now built software that can displays fuel economy ratings on travel websites. “Efficient flying comes at no extra cost or burden. We just need to highlight responsible travel options to the user,” explains Dirk Aguilar, Calasi President & Co-Founder. In addition to building awareness per se, the company attempts to actually shift demand towards more fuel efficient routes using a proprietory recommendation engine. Mr. Aguilar says: “Calasi suggests efficient flights that work for our users. Sometimes a more responsible option may actually save you money and time.”
Here’s a video of an early version of the service (the functionality has improved a bit since this video was created):
The founders point out that a single economy passenger from Los Angeles to New York can easily produce as many carbon emissions as two months worth of US per capita home electricity usage. Satish Viswanatham, Calasi CTO & Co-Counder, continues: “Fuel economy can easily vary threefold from one flight to another, so here is a wonderful opportunity to make a large positive impact. Many consumers already demonstrate a responsible lifestyle by riding a bike or driving a hybrid. Applying this thought process to the way they fly is a natural extention of what they are already doing.”