U.S. Airlines December 2020 Fuel Use Up 9% from November

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U.S. airlines’ December 2020 fuel consumption was 8.7% higher than November 2020, and more than double April 2020. April was the lowest monthly fuel usage on record (447M gallons), dating back to 2000. December 2020 fuel consumption was down 63% from December 2019.

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

Fuel consumed by U.S. airlines scheduled service:

December 2019                   1.6 billion gallons

November 2020                   845 million gallons

December 2020                   918 million gallons        

U.S. airlines’ December 2020 fuel consumption was 8.7% higher than November 2020, and more than double April 2020. April was the lowest monthly fuel usage on record (447M gallons), dating back to 2000. December 2020 fuel consumption was down 63% from December 2019.

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

December 2019           $2.00

November 2020           $1.20

December 2020           $1.45              

The December 2020 cost per gallon ($1.45) for aviation fuel was up 25 cents per gallon from November 2020 ($1.20) but down 55 cents per gallon from December 2019 ($2.00). 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:

December 2019           $3.1 billion

November 2020           $1.0 billion

December 2020           $1.3 billion

Total December 2020 fuel cost was 32% higher than November 2020 and almost three times consumption in May 2020, which was the lowest on record dating back to 2000. Total fuel cost in December 2020 was down 57% from December 2019.

The Fuel Cost and Consumption page can be found here: https://www.transtats.bts.gov/fuel.asp Summaries by month are also available.

Previously released numbers from February 2018 through November 2020 have been revised due to revised reports from airlines.

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 January data is scheduled for March 3.

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