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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation

U.S. Airlines January 2021 Fuel Use Down 8% from December 2020

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) today released U.S. airlines’ January Fuel Cost and Consumption numbers.


Fuel consumed by U.S. airlines scheduled service:

January 2020 1.5 billion gallons
December 2020 918 million gallons
January 2021 844 million gallons


U.S. airlines’ January 2021 fuel consumption was 8.1% lower than December 2020, and almost double consumption in April 2020. April was the lowest monthly fuel usage on record (447M gallons), dating back to 2000. January 2021 fuel consumption was down 42% from January 2020.



 Fuel cost per gallon for U.S. airlines scheduled service:

January 2020 $1.98
December 2020 $1.45
January 2021 $1.51


The January 2021 cost per gallon ($1.51) for aviation fuel was up 6 cents per gallon from December 2020 ($1.45) but down 47 cents per gallon from January 2020 ($1.98). The January 2021 cost of $1.51 per gallon was the highest since before the pandemic in February when the price was $1.81 per gallon.

The May 2020 cost per gallon ($1.03) was the lowest since April 2004 ($1.01).


 Total fuel cost for U.S. airlines scheduled service:

January 2020 $2.9 billion
December 2020 $1.33 billion
January 2021 $1.27 billion


Total January 2021 fuel cost was 4.5% lower than December 2020 and almost three times total cost in May 2020 ($466 million), which was the lowest on record dating back to 2000. Total fuel cost in January 2021 was down 56% from January 2020.

The Fuel Cost and Consumption page can be found here: Summaries by month are also available.

Preliminary fuel cost and consumption numbers are industry summaries only. Airline fuel costs may be affected by hedging, contracts that allow airlines to limit exposure to future price changes. The monthly web update with February data is scheduled for April 6. 

Individual airline numbers  through September are available on the BTS website. Individual airline numbers for October, November and December will be available with the BTS fourth-quarter 2020 financial release on May 3. Individual airline numbers for January will be available with the BTS first-quarter 2021 financial release on June 14.