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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 2022 Fuel Use Down 17% from Pre-Pandemic 2020; Cost per Gallon Hits 7-Year High

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) today released U.S. airlines’ January Fuel Cost and Consumption numbers indicating U.S. scheduled service airlines used 1.21 billion gallons of fuel, 10.5% less fuel than in December 2021 and 17.4% less than in pre-pandemic January 2020. The cost per gallon of fuel in January 2022 ($2.36) was up 22 cents (10.3%) from December 2021 and up 38 cents (19.2%) from January 2020. Total January 2022 fuel expenditure ($2.84B) was down 1.2% from December 2021 and down 1.8% from pre-pandemic January 2020.

At $2.36, the cost per gallon of fuel in January was the highest since November 2014’s $2.57.

Since January 2004, U.S. airlines’ fuel use in every January has decreased from the preceding December; however, the 10.5% drop in January 2022 from December 2021 was more than double the average January drop of 4.33% during that streak. Also noteworthy in January 2022 was the 43% increase in fuel use from January 2021, before COVID-19 vaccination was widely available.

Fuel consumed by U.S. airlines scheduled service:

 

January 2020:  1.46 billion gallons
January 2021:  844 million gallons
December 2021:  1.35 billion gallons
January 2022:  1.21 billion gallons

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

 

January 2020:    $1.98
January 2021:    $1.45
December 2021:    $2.14
January 2022:    $2.36

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

January 2020:  $2.90 billion
January 2021:  $1.27 billion
December 2021:  $2.88 billion
January 2022:  $2.84 billion

Fuel Cost and Consumption data from January 2000 to the present can be found at https://www.transtats.bts.gov/fuel.asp. 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, 2022.

Individual airline numbers through September are available on the BTS website. Individual airline numbers for October and November will be available with the BTS fourth-quarter 2021 financial release on March 7.

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