Google’s executives are using government fuel to travel to Tahiti, Hawaii and a host of private Caribbean beaches, according to a new detailed analysis.
While Google and government officials justify the discounted fuel and frequent exotic trips because of the scientific research the company does with NASA, the analysis conducted by Drew Johnson, a fellow at the Center for Individuals Freedom, says otherwise. Johnson argues the data shows those trips are more about luxury than work.
“It appears that Google’s jets perform very little actual scientific research (unless calculating the circumference of Mai Tai umbrellas on the beaches of Babelthuap somehow qualifies),” wrote Johnson.
NASA says that scientists aboard the company’s jets do perform scientific tasks such as measuring atmospheric greenhouse gases and ozone, according to Fox News.
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These trips have come at the cost of taxpayer dollars, the analyst wrote. Johnson said Google purchases jet fuel at below-market level prices from NASA and the Department of Defense.
“Google officials spent an estimated $29 million on jet fuel at the facility, roughly $10 million less than what they would have paid on the open market,” he wrote.
Johnson’s analysis found years of discounted gas purchases fueling 25 flights to the Caribbean between December 28, 2008 and April 5, 2013. There were also 25 trips to Tortola in the British Virgin Islands between April 11, 2009 and March 27, 2013, not to mention 32 flights listed to all over Hawaii and 18 flights to Tahiti.
These frequent trips surprised Johnson, who says the company has used the jumbo jets for trips to the beach.
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“When you look at the big Boeing planes, it’s impossible to know who was on the flights. But you have to assume that a lot of the time they’re not full,” Johnson said. The planes, he calculated, have “polluted the atmosphere with 100 million pounds of carbon dioxide.”