Can I charge passengers for fuel costs?
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Answered By AOPA
Can I charge passengers for fuel costs?
3 Replies
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AOPA Staff Answer
You can’t charge passengers for the cost of fuel; however, you can agree among yourselves to share the expenses for fuel, oil, airport expenditures, or rental fees if the pilot pays no less than a pro rata share. This is covered in 14 CFR Part 61.113 Private pilot privileges and limitations: Pilot in command.
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Just to add to Island Boy's commentary - the regulations do require that the PIC pays no less than a pro rata share. If there are 2 passengers aboard, the PIC must pay for 1/3, for example, no less. There is no requirement for the passengers to pay anything for the flight. That is, as noted, an agreement between all 3 on the flight as to how much the passengers will contribute. In this case, they cannot contribute more than 2/3.

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It's more complicated than Island Boy and Daddis wrote.  Lots of ways you can fall afoul of the regulations on expense sharing.  There's that really important "common purpose" element (everyone involved must have their own reason for going to that destination on that day), only the direct expenses of the flight (as defined in 61.113) can be shared, and you cannot in any way, shape, or form "hold out" to the public (web sites, ride boards, etc).  This recent FAA policy statement summarizes all the issues, and it ain't just one simple paragraph.

https://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Advisory_Circular/AC_61-142.pdf
https://www.aopa.org/news-and-media/all-news/2020/march/04/faa-issues-updated-guidance-on-expense-sharing