The robust demand for commercial and air transport drives the current intensive research and development of energy efficient planes. As a matter of fact, the modern aircraft today has decreased in energy consumption significantly compared to old planes. According to Ngo and Natowtiz, with occupancy rates on the order of 70-80% the fuel consumption of recently built planes is on the order of 5L/100 km per passenger and that this means flying over a given distance as about the same in terms of energy consumption and CO2 emissions per passenger as driving the same distance with a car. (333)
It must be underscored that technological innovations in the history of mankind, especially in the area of transportations, has been less energy efficient than the technology it replaced. In this regard, the use of supersonic air transport could reverse the trend for air transport. The engine of these supersonic jets are expected to beat all other current aircrafts in the area of energy efficiency because its technological designs optimize such items as fuel/air mixture, engine temperature and airflow velocities. (Siuru 155) A future supersonic transport could travel at speeds of Mach 2.7, making a trip from Los Angeles to Tokyo in a little over three hours. (Siuru 155) Some market projections anticipate a fleet of some 300 to 1,200 commercial supersonic jets in service in the next 10-30 years.
Another interesting area in the supersonic jet technology, which makes it the most energy efficient aircraft of the future, is the so-called oblique-wing airliner concept. It supposedly eliminates the conventional fuselage by having passengers ride inside the wing. Siuru pointed to the computations that show how an oblique-wing airliner could fly at Mach 1.6, twice the speed of the Boeing 747, while consuming no more than a subsonic jumbo jet. Here, the level of fuel efficiency is achieved through the oblique wing’s very high lift-to-drag ratio and, subsequently,