Google loses Pentagon fuel subsidy on private jets

A deal letting Google's Sergey Brin and Larry Page buy discounted jet fuel from the Pentagon ends, according to a new report.

Hey, that's not a plane!
Hey, that's not a plane! Google

Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page have lost a jet fuel perk, according to a new report.

Google and the Pentagon inked a deal, which started in 2007, that let Google purchase fuel for its entire fleet -- seven jets and two helicopters -- at a discounted price from the US government, according to the Wall Street Journal. The deal ended on August 31 and was not renewed by NASA, which sponsored the agreement. According to the Journal, the deal ended after the Pentagon discovered Google may have been using the fuel for non-government flights, potentially violating its contract with NASA.

According to the Wall Street Journal, which obtained the information from a Pentagon spokesperson, Google's jet fleet is represented by a private company known as H211 LLC. The jets are used and owned by Brin, Page, and the company's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt.

NASA confirmed the arrangement to the Wall Street Journal, saying that the deal was beneficial to both parties.

Google, according to NASA, helped the government agency on scientific flights, specifically through the analysis of atmospheric greenhouse gases and ozone in a jet bought by the search giant and used by NASA. The government agency was also quick to point out to the Journal that H211 paid rent to keep Google's fleet at Moffett Federal Airfield, where NASA's Ames Research Center is based about three miles from Google's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters, and covered some costs related to NASA flights.

Still, Google's jets were fueled up at a pretty good price. According to the Journal, Google paid an average of $3.19 per gallon for jet fuel. The average price on commercial flight purchases was $4.35 per gallon over that period.

CNET has contacted Google for comment on the Journal's report. We will update this story when we have more information.

Update, 9:08 a.m. PT: Adds additional details from The Wall Street Journal report.

About the author

Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.

 

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