In an embarrassing revelation, NASA
admitted that it has been selling jet fuel at a steep discount to a company called H2-11, which is owned by Google
’s top brass--Eric Schmidt, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin--and has hangar space at Moffett Field.
According to NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Team, NASA allowed H2-11 jets to fuel up at a price tag of between $2.37 and $3.20 a gallon while the same stuff went for $5 to $8.50 per gallon at nearby airports. Over time, that’s allowed H2-11 to save between $3.3 million and $5.3 million worth of taxpayer-subsidized jet fuel.
Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa has been after NASA for some time to rectify the situation, and the space agency sent his office a letter admitting
to an oversight that led to the unfair discount. “That sale of fuel was priced on a ‘full cost’ basis consistent with NASA’s agency-wide pricing policies on reimbursable activities with commercial partners,” reads the letter.
In regard to the demand that NASA extract that money that it let slip away, NASA says that it’s not possible, but the agency has adjusted its pricing approach and is now charging H2-11 “market rate” prices for jet fuel.