Military JP8 Fuel: What You Should Know

Logistics is vital on the battlefield.  Fueling the force is a big part of that.  Sometime in the late 1980s or early 1990s, the Army (and military) transitioned to a single fuel concept.  The purpose of doing this was to save money, reduce the different types of fuels needed, reduce storage costs and requirements, and have all/most equipment run on a single type of fuel.  That fuel is JP8.

In the paragraphs below I want to share with you some basic things you should know about JP8.  My goal is not to make you an expert, but to give you a general overview.

  • JP8 was designed to replace diesel fuel
  • It was created to be part of a single fuel concept; so when units are deployed they only need to supply one type of fuel
  • Most military equipment runs on JP-8, although some still run on MOGAS, diesel or kerosene
  • It was first introduced to NATO forces in 1978
  • It is specified by MIL-DTL-83133 and British Defense Standard 91-87
  • It has an oily feel to the touch
  • Workers have complained of smelling and tasting JP-8 for hours after exposure
  • The FY 2014 cost per gallon is $3.62
  • It is very similar to fuel used by commercial jets and airplanes
  • The primary ingredient in JP8 is kerosene
  • In addition to kerosene, JP-8 contains very small amounts of many other substances, such as benzene, and various additives to inhibit icing, prevent static charge buildup, avoid oxidation, and decrease corrosion
  • JP8 is safer to use than JP4
  • Planes using JP8 are much less likely to explode when damaged in combat
  • It can cause skin irritation and sensitization, resulting in itchy, red, peeling or tender skin
  • It has a flashpoint of 100 degrees Fahrenheit
  • The appearance is a pale yellow to water like liquid
  • The boiling range is 280 degrees to 572 degrees Fahrenheit

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is that JP8 is here to stay, at least until 2025.  The whole idea of having a single type of fuel on the battlefield makes a lot of sense to me.  It’s a great way to save money and streamline logistics.

On a side note, what are your thoughts?  If you have much experience as a fuel handler, equipment operator or contractor, please leave a comment below to share your thoughts about JP8.  I look forward to hearing from you.


chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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4 thoughts on “Military JP8 Fuel: What You Should Know”

  1. The single-fuel concept does make a lot of sense, as far as logistics goes. Fuel is not the easiest thing to transport and replenish, and making sure a unit has multiple types of fuel for multiple pieces of equipment is not a good idea. If everything uses a single fuel, it becomes easier to prioritize when supplies run low.

  2. I do know that kerosene burns quite clean in comparison to many other fuels. It makes me happy that the military has considered a cleaner burning fuel, because diesel is a very dirty fuel and leaves more pollution than kerosene. I know propane is also very clean burning, but is hard on seals and gaskets.

    It seems to me that military engineers did their research and went with the best option they could. In time, maybe we will find more electric operated military equipment, or even better….solar.

  3. Many conspiracy buffs have written much about what looks like planes leaving trails that look like they are “dusting” the population. I wonder if this is a result of JP8. So many people were used to the way other fuels burned off, and they have created a frenzy of thoughts that maybe the powers that be were trying to kill off part of the population.

    Do you know if the exhaust from this fuel creates these lines in the sky that so many talk about? It sounds to me like this might be the reason.

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