This article originally appeared in Aviation Consumer magazine, Nov. 2005.However unpleasant the specter of $4 avgas may be, it has become a harsh reality. The $5 barrier fell in early 2005, and as we go to press, Signature at Teterboro, N.J., can claim the highest avgas price in the country: $6.10. [Editor's Note: At the end of 2007, it was up to $8.05.] In the U.S., fuel has never been the most expensive component of flying cost, but it could soon get that way. And even if it doesn't, no other factor more threatens GA growth and usefulness than the rising cost of gas. Although aircraft owners can't do much about the global price of crude oil, we can certainly do more to make our airplanes use less of it. Some of these measures require minor or major investments in the airframe, but the largest gains are to be had simply by flying the airplane more efficiently and learning to lean effectively. We're loathe to say it, but owners of some twins are coming to the unwelcome realization that a handful of modern, single-engine airplanes are not only faster but cost less than half as much to operate as even a modest twin. The comfort of having a second engine is likely to grow increasingly expensive, so certain aspects of the used single-engine market may soon heat up. Herewith, presented in order of cost effectiveness, are an even dozen ideas on how to either save gas directly or reduce fuel-related operating costs. Some require minor habit changes; others require modifications or upgrades to the aircraft.
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Jeff Rockwood of Bee Cave, TX kicks off this edition of "PotW" with a celebration of pilot ingenuity. Click through for more reader-submitted pictures.