Why is refined fuel so expensive?

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BFalcon
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Re: Why is refined fuel so expensive?

Postby BFalcon » Tue Aug 30, 2011 7:59 pm

precisely my thinking - you'd need some means of extracting the old (surplus) carrier liquid from the car, but that would hardly be a major issue. If they could put a dye in that would change colour when it's been heated that they could then reset with a catalyst later, it would be an excellent fuel choice (the dye would be so people tell the difference between the old fuel and the fresh (hydrogenated) fuel without needing any tools).
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Re: Why is refined fuel so expensive?

Postby jaiden » Sun May 06, 2012 5:03 am

RE: environmental risks from dipping into water

Dipping into one water source and then into another one has a high risk of cross contamination of any type of life form, from algae to bacteria to vertebrates. This is a big hazard already with boats from lake to lake, never mind across star systems! I'm planning to regulate this on all but the least sophisticated worlds.
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Re: Why is refined fuel so expensive?

Postby rust » Sun May 06, 2012 12:07 pm

jaiden wrote: Dipping into one water source and then into another one has a high risk of cross contamination of any type of life form, from algae to bacteria to vertebrates.
While there may be a risk, I do not think that it is high, because
a starship will normally cross deep space with vacuum and radia-
tion and also jump space between water refuelling stops, and on-
ly very few life forms - if any - will be able to survive this and will
remain biologically active until the next water refuelling stop.
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Re: Why is refined fuel so expensive?

Postby jaiden » Sun May 06, 2012 2:22 pm

rust wrote:
jaiden wrote: Dipping into one water source and then into another one has a high risk of cross contamination of any type of life form, from algae to bacteria to vertebrates.
While there may be a risk, I do not think that it is high, because
a starship will normally cross deep space with vacuum and radia-
tion and also jump space between water refuelling stops, and on-
ly very few life forms - if any - will be able to survive this and will
remain biologically active until the next water refuelling stop.
I thought about that, but I think that INSIDE the tanks, algae, bacteria and viruses would be likely to survive. Even outside is possible:
http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn1 ... acuum.html
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Re: Why is refined fuel so expensive?

Postby rust » Sun May 06, 2012 4:41 pm

jaiden wrote:
I thought about that, but I think that INSIDE the tanks, algae, bacteria and viruses would be likely to survive.
It would depend on your universe's version of refuelling, whether
the ship stores water in its tanks or - more likely in my view - pro-
cesses the filtered water into hydrogen and oxygen and stores on-
ly the hydrogen in its fuel tanks. The electrolysis process and the
tanks' environment of cooled liquid hydrogen should be sufficient
to kill almost all life forms.
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Re: Why is refined fuel so expensive?

Postby BFalcon » Mon May 07, 2012 12:56 pm

rust wrote:
jaiden wrote:
I thought about that, but I think that INSIDE the tanks, algae, bacteria and viruses would be likely to survive.
It would depend on your universe's version of refuelling, whether
the ship stores water in its tanks or - more likely in my view - pro-
cesses the filtered water into hydrogen and oxygen and stores on-
ly the hydrogen in its fuel tanks. The electrolysis process and the
tanks' environment of cooled liquid hydrogen should be sufficient
to kill almost all life forms.
Wow, it's been a while since I last saw this thread...

Rust, if you did it that way, they would need to be landed long enough for the fuel processors to work, meaning they'd be grounded for days, usually. Mostly people assume that the water's pumped into the tanks and then processed there.

Of course, you need to ask yourself - can they survive in a pure hydrogen environment and also would the fuel processors then process those life forms to generate the hydrogen needed, flushing the waste into space (could be a useful way of body disposal if so).

Cross contamination would certainly be a concern and a very real threat - nations stop certain produce from being imported without strict controls and we share the same planet - planetary systems would certainly be concerned that something might survive and thrive through refuelling "in the wild" and so might also carry a virus which could then mutate to attack local flora or fauna. Imagine a planet that was renowned for its chocolate, for example, but an introduced virus managed, somehow, to wipe out the cocoa plants. They would definitely want to make an example of anyone who threatened to cause the same threat, as would similarly vunerable planets.

I'm not currently running a Traveller campaign, but when I do, I plan to make "in the wild" refuelling illegal on populated planets or moons - lower TL (TL 5 to 8) planets would respond with aircraft, higher TL with spacecraft, if they detected an illegal refuelling attempt.

Of course, ice moons, comets, etc would all be fair game, as would gas giants or nebulae (unless protected in their own right (unique life forms, religious areas, etc.), in which case they'd still be protected). There's also the prospect of a system's ice moon or gas giant having been bought by a corporation as a fuel source - in which case they may also decide to protect their assets...
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Re: Why is refined fuel so expensive

Postby Mithras » Mon May 07, 2012 5:48 pm

That's the way I do it too!

far-trader wrote:Welcome to the far future :) ;)

I've heard a few ideas for the whys and hows, mostly setting laws and such. My take is a little different.

I too soon realized when HG (the CT version) came out ages ago with its onboard fuel purifiers that nobody would build a ship without them or ever buy refined fuel again. The cost breakpoint for a merchant came out just short of even for the basic Free Trader factoring loss of revenue cargo space iirc. And anything bigger or with longer legs was saving money. And with misjumps nobody would use unrefined if onboard purifiers were as small and cheap as they were.

Rather than mess with changing the prices I reinvented the fuel definitions based on the loose terminology as an excuse.

Originally there was unrefined (causing problems but free for skimming or only available at poorer ports for Cr100/ton) and refined (no problems and only available at better ports for Cr500/ton). Then along comes purified (note the minor difference in nomenclature) that is described as refined.

My solution was three fuel qualities:

Unrefined: Free for the taking by skimming or scooping with the proper equipment, but unusable as is. Before it can be used it must be purified.

This is a new definition of the term, and a new fuel type, really a non-fuel type.

Purified: By employing small, basic, cheap purifiers unrefined fuel can be easily and quickly made serviceable for drives though at some risk of contamination of the drives leading to breakdowns or misjumps. Shipboard purifiers are common on almost all ships as a backup but not to be relied on for routine use. Purified fuel is also routinely available at smaller backwater starports (C and D) for Cr100/ton where better facilities don't exist or demand can't support them.

This is the old unrefined fuel, with a new name and explanation, that incorporates the onboard fuel purifier rules.

Refined: Only possible with large and expensive installations and requiring considerable time purified fuel can be further processed until it is refined to the point of being pure enough to reliably perform without complications. Only better quality starports (A and B) can afford the infrastructure to produce this level of fuel and it sells for a premium price, Cr500/ton, but is worth it for the safe operation and long life of the expensive drives. Some large ships may include such aboard but it is rare except for military ships due to the expense, volume and time required to refine. Smaller military ships routinely use purified fuel under strict practices to reduce the chance of drive malfunction.

This is of course the old Refined fuel given a new reasoning and not being permitted as a small or cheap onboard option.

It works for me :)
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Re: Why is refined fuel so expensive

Postby hdan » Mon May 07, 2012 6:01 pm

Mithras wrote:That's the way I do it too!
Yep, same here. IMTU you need a purifier to skim at all, but that only gets you unrefined fuel. So you *can* use unrefined fuel you skim yourself, but of course you run the risk of misjump if your drives aren't in top condition.
/hdan
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Re: Why is refined fuel so expensive?

Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Mon May 07, 2012 8:55 pm

rust wrote:Talking about hydrogen as fuel, there is an interesting experimental
process which stores hydrogen as Perhydro-N-Ethylcarbazol in liquid
form. When heated to about 100° Celsius the Perhydro-N-Ethylcarba-
zol releases the hydrogen, which can then be used as fuel, while the
remaining N-Ethylcarbazol can be reused by hydrating it again into
the Perhydro-N-Ethylcarbazol. The energy density is ca. 2,000 kWh
per cubic meter, a little less than LHyd's 2,360 kWh per cubic meter,
but it requires neither cooling nor pressure tanks.
This would be a nice alternative to LHyd as described in the official rules. Using this method, the "refining" process removes the hydrogen from whatever form it was originally and lets it get absorbed by the PNE. Your fuel tanks are actually filled with this PNE and are never really empty.

Fuel bladders now require them to be "emptied" dockside, rather than having it done by the crew, but that is a minor difference.

Maybe the lower energy density explains why so much "fuel" has to be used to support a fusion reaction...
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Re: Why is refined fuel so expensive?

Postby BP » Tue May 08, 2012 3:52 am

Don't really see any problem with the rules as written...

1) Many routes - official and otherwise - will involve Class C starports (ala travellermap.com)
- thus, many ships will commonly need wilderness refining capabilities

2) Most trade happens at the primary world - which is generally some distance from a GG

3) As for ocean refueling, many worlds will likely not allow 'wilderness' refueling, if they have starports to land at (or not, maybe landing permits are hard to get and highport docking is standard - quite likely for some LL/Gov types, perhaps...)

Not sure #3 is covered anywhere in published works - but it seems a natural assumption, otherwise why even have a starport if anyone can land anywhere... This also explains availability of unrefined fuel - required purchase vs free for the taking due to laws, not reality. To some extent, systems may also have regulations against refueling from planetoids and moons as well. Heck, maybe even the GGs (indigenous life?).

Sure, 500 Cr per ton does add up fast, but then Megacorp ships and such would not likely be paying such costs - any more than a commercial airline carrier pays the same costs as a private owner does.

The cost in time (to go to a source and to refine) and the expertise (GG skimming requires piloting skill - akin to in-air refueling which while quite doable, even if it were cost effective vs airport refueling, I doubt commercial airliners would engage in) would also contribute to the selling of refined fuel. There is also skill for operation of plant and its upkeep that may be in order.

If anything, I would say the rules missed the opportunity to put some balance in via maintenance - due to their nature, purifiers would be prone to maintenance issues more so than most systems. Your purifiers fail, one may be spending a lot of time and money on addressing the problem - including buying expensive fuel or risking other failures...

So can see expensive refined fuel existing in contrast to time, legal, skill, safety, and reliability issues. Yet, shipboard refining still is a must for many trade routes. So both co-exist quite well, IMTU.
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Re: Why is refined fuel so expensive?

Postby far-trader » Tue May 08, 2012 5:09 am

BP wrote:Don't really see any problem with the rules as written...
I think you're not seeing the 800ton Cruiser in the room ;)

I was going to run my old calculations for MgT but... hey, how about that! I don't have to. MgT Core has the Free-Trader with a 1ton Cr50,000* fuel processor included. I guess they realized that only makes sense. In fact it makes the fuel costs even more broken than they were in CT given that.

* in just over 6 trips the Free Trader has paid for the fuel processor by buying unrefined instead of refined fuel, including the Cr1,000 loss per trip for the 1ton of cargo potential lost... SIX TRIPS... THREE MONTHS.

Nobody will be able to sell refined fuel for Cr500. Nobody will buy it. They will buy unrefined for Cr100 or skim/dip for free... because EVERY ship will have fuel purifiers. Any ship that doesn't is broken. Heck, at that price and size it's silly (and broken) that the Free Trader doesn't have a backup just in case (except that of course it probably NEVER breaks down or is damaged in combat :roll: ) So...

Goodbye refined fuel costs making it hard for an honest merchant to turn a profit.

Goodbye to needing to make up being short on the mortgage, a major ref plot for getting the players to adventure. Might as well just give the players the ship they want free and clear.

Goodbye to misjumps and another big ref adventure plot for getting the players off the beaten track and into the unknown.

Goodbye to one differentiation of Starports that used to count for something.

HURRAH! to MgT or the designer of the ships for recognizing that having fuel purifiers as described would mean EVERY ship will have one. Sadly though, BOOO! to them for not seeing the consequences and fixing the rest of it while they were at it.
Dan "far-trader" Burns

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Re: Why is refined fuel so expensive?

Postby Captain Jonah » Tue May 08, 2012 8:01 am

Some time ago this came up when I was chatting with the Terra/sol guys.

After much talking I seem to remember we just dropped the types of fuel completely. You have raw materials and then you had fuel. Fuel cost you 100credits per Dton and that was it. No messing around with refined, purified etc.

Ships that would wilderness skim had a fuel processor, other ships that went port to port didn't.

As part of the argument we looked at Lee's shipping line and simply switched over to fuel processing since the small shipping line already had the offices and warehouses.

With the fuel rules as they are you can sell your ship. Buy processors and a fuel farm in orbit plus one or two fuel skimming small craft. You make more money just doing that than you do shipping cargo.

Inhabited systems (which is all of them in Twilight and the other mapped sectors so far) don't let you wilderness refuel since you are stealing their H. But since the systems have vast fuel storage capabilities and its Cr100 per Dton its better to now waste time.

As Far Trader points out with everyone paying Cr100 for fuel the dynamics of trade change yet again (hey Trade has never made sense in 30+ years of this game :roll: ) but in reality it hasn't changed, its just that sneaky players have been doing this all along and evil refs have been trying to stop them.

Still having a booming economy and wealth to be made for the characters with a ship just makes the whole universe a brighter and happier place which makes the shadows all the darker when trouble comes calling in the night :twisted:
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Re: Why is refined fuel so expensive?

Postby far-trader » Tue May 08, 2012 8:08 am

I do have another thought, an option that might work for MgT (or any ruleset with purifiers I suppose). It seems kind of elegant but then it's late, I'm tired and it may the ale talking :D

It's pretty much a given that ALL starships will have purifiers. And for the setting we want to keep the Cr500 for refined fuel meaning something and the Cr100 for unrefined. So how about this...

Class A and B Starports ONLY have refined fuel available. ALL ships MUST buy the refined fuel for Cr500 at the Starport. No skimming or dipping is allowed and all such convenient sources are closely monitored and strictly enforced for the economic if not ecological health of the system.

Class C and D Starports ONLY have unrefined fuel available. ALL ships MUST buy the unrefined fuel for Cr100 at the Starport. No skimming or dipping is allowed and all such convenient sources are monitored and enforced to a reasonable degree as well as the system is able to.

Systems without a proper Starport have no fuel available EXCEPT what the ships can find for themselves by skimming or dipping for free.


What does this mean? A few interesting twists I think...

First the better systems (Class A and B), the busy systems, the rich systems dripping with profits, will generally be cornered by the subsidized ships and heavy haulers. Class A and B systems will still see the odd small independent merchant but they will stand to lose money at the fuel prices they get charged.

Second the secondary systems (Class C and D) are the ones that are going to see more of the small independent merchants. This will be their lifeblood. Systems where their ships can operate cheaply and still pick up decent trade.

Thirdly the tertiary systems without true Starports proper will see little traffic.

It makes sense then that subsidized ships and the big haulers, operating almost exclusively in the Class A and B systems will NOT have purifiers aboard. Instead they will have dedicated facilities on those few secondary systems they absolutely have to work through.

I like it :D Will have to wait and see if it still makes as much sense in the morning light or if I wake up to a nonsensical post and replies wondering wth I was trying to type :lol:

EDIT: Now I see the post just above since my earlier post, but it'll have to wait to morning for me to be able to read it with some comprehension, I'm just about dead on my feet :)
Dan "far-trader" Burns

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Re: Why is refined fuel so expensive?

Postby rust » Tue May 08, 2012 9:15 am

far-trader wrote:
Class A and B Starports ONLY have refined fuel available. ALL ships MUST buy the refined fuel for Cr500 at the Starport. No skimming or dipping is allowed and all such convenient sources are closely monitored and strictly enforced for the economic if not ecological health of the system.

Class C and D Starports ONLY have unrefined fuel available. ALL ships MUST buy the unrefined fuel for Cr100 at the Starport. No skimming or dipping is allowed and all such convenient sources are monitored and enforced to a reasonable degree as well as the system is able to.

Systems without a proper Starport have no fuel available EXCEPT what the ships can find for themselves by skimming or dipping for free.
While it might work, I doubt that this would fit in well with the normally
mostly free market economy of the Third Imperium. For example, sooner
or later some Class A or B starport would be tempted to draw trade and
traffic away from a competing system by offering its refined fuel for only
Cr400, and I am not convinced that the Imperium would send in the Ma-
rines to enforce a fuel price.
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Re: Why is refined fuel so expensive?

Postby Captain Jonah » Tue May 08, 2012 10:40 am

Imperial Law may mandate that is the price at the star port, Imperial Law ends at the 100D limit.

Set up a locally registered company, build a tank farm at the 101D mark, sell your fuel from there. Pay taxes to the world government to ensure protection.

Rake in money hand over fist.

Without changing the size of the processor to make in non starship viable, adding new types of fuel to cover up the discrepancy or creating a new criminal endeavour (H smugglers) you are left with the fact that everyone who puts some thought to it will buy fuel at Cr100.

Forcing free traders to only fly from the C and D worlds where there is far less traffic anyway counters the cheaper fuel. The main lines are going to buy bulk or produce their own fuel and so will budget for CR100 making them even more competitive against the free traders.

Now its possible to have restricted star ports with no gas giant where you have no choice but to pay through the nose, such systems will suffer a lose of traffic unless they discount the big lines who will not put up with such price gouging. So you could have worlds where the Free traders mostly don’t go because they are ripped off but that’s about it.

Fuel costs Cr100. You can ref that it costs more in YTU if you want to but you then need to add entire systems of law enforcement and reasons why. Smart free traders and players will pay Cr100 and that’s it. Forcing people to pay Cr500 makes it massively viable to go into the fuel business not the shipping business, why risk jumps and pirates and long boring trips in jump space when you can use a sub light ship to find a nice Ice ball and produce fuel all day.
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Re: Why is refined fuel so expensive?

Postby BP » Tue May 08, 2012 11:41 am

far-trader wrote:I do have another thought,...
Really? :P
Unread wrote:Don't really see any problem with the rules as written...

1) Many routes - official and otherwise - will involve Class C starports (ala travellermap.com)
- thus, many ships will commonly need wilderness refining capabilities

2) Most trade happens at the primary world - which is generally some distance from a GG

3) As for ocean refueling, many worlds will likely not allow 'wilderness' refueling, if they have starports to land at (or not, maybe landing permits are hard to get and highport docking is standard - quite likely for some LL/Gov types, perhaps...)


Not sure #3 is covered anywhere in published works - but it seems a natural assumption, otherwise why even have a starport if anyone can land anywhere... This also explains availability of unrefined fuel - required purchase vs free for the taking due to laws, not reality. To some extent, systems may also have regulations against refueling from planetoids and moons as well. Heck, maybe even the GGs (indigenous life?).

Sure, 500 Cr per ton does add up fast, but then Megacorp ships and such would not likely be paying such costs - any more than a commercial airline carrier pays the same costs as a private owner does.

The cost in time (to go to a source and to refine) and the expertise (GG skimming requires piloting skill - akin to in-air refueling which while quite doable, even if it were cost effective vs airport refueling, I doubt commercial airliners would engage in) would also contribute to the selling of refined fuel. There is also skill for operation of plant and its upkeep that may be in order.

If anything, I would say the rules missed the opportunity to put some balance in via maintenance - due to their nature, purifiers would be prone to maintenance issues more so than most systems. Your purifiers fail, one may be spending a lot of time and money on addressing the problem - including buying expensive fuel or risking other failures...

So can see expensive refined fuel existing in contrast to time, legal, skill, safety, and reliability issues. Yet, shipboard refining still is a must for many trade routes. So both co-exist quite well, IMTU.
The real problem with shipboard refineries was that CT Book 2 didn't have them and people used such to provide motivations for PC trade and to envision their TU (and stayed fixated on it...). :wink:

HG's version not only works and makes technical sense (and economic given the aspects mentioned above), but fixes the otherwise broken trade routes - since very few could be formed from just A & B starports in the OTU.
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Re: Why is refined fuel so expensive?

Postby 2330ADUSA1 » Tue May 08, 2012 11:51 am

My approach in GMing has always been to stream line some techs and make it playable for the players. Since Traveller is a fantasy/sci-fi setting I have added techs or modified them to better fit into the setting so that it seems to fit and work making the playing enviorment much more enjoyable. Also the focus for my campaigns has been on roleplaying and having fun in the setting and not the technology. tech is just a tool for the settings and situatuons that players are involved with. My longest running campaign lasted for 12 years with us playing everyu other week all that time in the Verge sector...I am the former HIWG Verge analyst. My own notes and details for the Verge sector are quite complete and extremely detailed down to having each and every system defined and totally mapped out. It really helps when GMing it for a campaign, trust me.

Call me a old fart, pen and paper for me.....now someone pass me my cane!

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Re: Why is refined fuel so expensive?

Postby BFalcon » Tue May 08, 2012 1:58 pm

Captain Jonah wrote:Imperial Law may mandate that is the price at the star port, Imperial Law ends at the 100D limit.
Really? Imperial Law and System Law is shared between 10D and 100D. Beyond 100D, Imperial Law is "absolute" (Sector Fleet, p12).

If you wanted to sell fuel, you'd need to be on good terms with the locals and inside the 10D mark and not on SPA territory (the SPA being an Imperial agency). You'd need also to run your own station, including Flight Control and every other service a full station would offer, since you'd have ships coming and going, of all sizes. Given that, you'd effectively be running your own starport, so the SPA wouldn't care what you charged. Of course, you'd have to pay for all the costs of running that station as well as any fees the local planetary bodies wished to charge.

The high costs of fuel in some systems is also supposed to balance out the costs of shipping fuel to those linking systems that cannot provide fuel for themselves. Remember that the next time you're happily refuelling at a system without planetary water or a gas giant... the SPA looks after all the Starports and tries to keep the fuel costs equal - it's only docking fees themselves that vary (presumably because they feel that the greater facilities and opportunities are worth it).
Captain Jonah wrote: Now its possible to have restricted star ports with no gas giant where you have no choice but to pay through the nose, such systems will suffer a lose of traffic unless they discount the big lines who will not put up with such price gouging. So you could have worlds where the Free traders mostly don’t go because they are ripped off but that’s about it.

Fuel costs Cr100. You can ref that it costs more in YTU if you want to but you then need to add entire systems of law enforcement and reasons why. Smart free traders and players will pay Cr100 and that’s it. Forcing people to pay Cr500 makes it massively viable to go into the fuel business not the shipping business, why risk jumps and pirates and long boring trips in jump space when you can use a sub light ship to find a nice Ice ball and produce fuel all day.
Quite honestly, this is WHY the fuel costs are high. True, in an ideal system where a ship can syphon off raw fuel and refine it, you don't need too much in the way of costs, but what then happens when you try to follow the 1J or 2J trade routes and you suddenly run out of fuel? This is why the SPA charges so much for the fuel that most people will pay to use - it supports the costs of the whole operation.

How many people do you see buying crude oil and then refining it? Refining oil isn't that hard, it's mainly a case of evaporating and then condensing the products at various (precise) temperatures - well within the capabilities of most people... but they prefer to pay a lot more for petrol at the pumps. This is because of convenience too - people don't like wasting time (quite aside from all the waste products that would need to be got rid of, which might be useable by other people in a proper system, eg water would provide oxygen, used then to recharge ship life support systems - in a ship, it would likely need to be dumped rather than purify the volatile oxygen too).
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Re: Why is refined fuel so expensive?

Postby hdan » Tue May 08, 2012 3:16 pm

Argh, looks like I got beat to the pump, so to speak. Oh well, I'll leave this message as-is, even if some of it is now redundant to the conversation.

A few random thoughts related to this topic:

You really do need to install purifiers on your ship the way the rules are written. Only small craft would not have them. The existence of pre-refined fuel is most likely a social (that is, profit related) one, rather than a technological one.

IMTU, I add a "skim" or "no skim" notes to the worlds. My criteria are fairly loose and depend on the character of the world, but in general any world with a Class C or better starport and either a strong government or a high law level will require you to buy fuel at the port. Of course if the world doesn't have a high enough tech level, it won't be able to enforce this law, though a fully fueled ship coming in from the outer system will be met with suspicion and charged a fueling tax before it can land. Likewise, an unfueled ship will have trouble getting an exit visa without paying the "skimming tax" (which is most likely about the same price as unrefined fuel), since it will be obvious that the ship intends to head for the system gas giant to refuel. A well placed bribe usually fixes that problem.

Low population or lower tech worlds generally don't bother trying to control skimming regardless of their law level, though they generally make up for that with much higher berthing fees.

On well developed worlds without gas giants, fuel can become even more expensive. If a local company controls all fuel production, then maybe they will ONLY sell the refined stuff.

On dry worlds without gas giants, fuel must be hauled in from comets, and can be very expensive. These worlds might subsidize the cost of the comet retrieval missions to help encourage trade, but will certainly only offer refined fuel.

The other thing to note is that it often takes days (or even a week) for a merchant ship to travel to a gas giant for refueling. Assuming the ship jumps in at the gas giant, refuels, and then heads to the world for a week of r&r and mercantile activities, the merchant will be in-system for nearly two weeks. So long as the fuel costs less than 1/2 of an average run's profits, it's cheaper to buy the fuel at the starport and keep the standard 2 week jump schedule going.

Of course hydrogen shouldn't be that expensive, but the Imperium is built on the idea of capitalism, so you're not paying for the hydrogen, you're paying for the convenience of not having to impact your schedule to get the hydrogen yourself.
/hdan
phavoc
Cosmic Mongoose
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Re: Why is refined fuel so expensive?

Postby phavoc » Tue May 08, 2012 3:29 pm

My thoughts on the fuel pricing conundrum is that they originate with the first little black books that were published in the 70's.

In the original rules, you could use unrefined fuel, but you ran the risk of mis-jumps. With refined fuel you didn't. So PC's low on credits would buy unrefined fuel and the referee would have another mechanism to use for making adventures work. Some of the original adventures started out with mis-jumps, or had them as part of the adventure.

Enter the natural progression of the Traveller universe, and fuel purification equipment shows up. Bang! It's a no-brainer to buy fuel purification systems now. And of course military ships would have them since they almost always do frontier refueling when in enemy systems (or even occupied friendly ones).

The problem is (and this is apparent through so much of the Traveller rulesets) that when new things were introduced to the rules, the canon was never changed to adapt. I believe that fuel is one of these same problems. As others have pointed out, it makes no sense to not have fuel processor on board and convert your own fuel and save a ton of money. Flying out to a gas giant to refuel for "free" is economically unfeasible once you factor in the time it takes to fly there, scoop your fuel, then move out 100D before jumping.

Refined fuel might be better priced at like Cr250/ton instead of Cr500. Even that cost multiplier might be too high. Or, perhaps unrefined is too cheap, and it's cost should be raised. Actually, if you think about it, boosting megatons of water to orbit (assuming you pull your fuel from there) is not cheap. And what about desert worlds, where water is too precious to fuel starships? In that case you'll need an alternative source (gas giants, ice asteroids) to fuel your ships up. Which for busier worlds, you'll have to create the infrastructure necessary to get raw hydrogen from the other parts of the system where it's plentiful to where it's needed. And that infrastructure will cost you money...

So it's really up to ref's to take the fuel prices as guidelines, then adapt them to their specific settings. In some places fuel is simply gonna be more expensive. In others it might be quite cheap (even cheaper than the book).

Besides, what ref doesn't want to separate credits from their players? Too many credits and they get lazy and instead of having fun firefights that you spent hours creating, they'll do milk-runs and eat space bon-bons while counting their credits!

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