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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’ October 2021 Fuel Use Increases 4.4% from September, Remains 17% Lower than Pre-Pandemic October 2019

Wednesday, December 1, 2021


October 2021 cost per gallon rises 12% from September to $2.23 

The Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) today released U.S. airlines’ October Fuel Cost and Consumption numbers. U.S. airlines used 1.28 billion gallons of fuel, 4.4% more fuel than in September but 17.3% less than in pre-pandemic October 2019. At $2.23, the cost per gallon of fuel in October 2021 was up 12.1% from September’s $1.99.


Fuel consumed by U.S. airlines scheduled service:
October 2019:      1.54 billion gallons
October 2020:      807 million gallons
September 2021: 1.22 billion gallons  
October 2021:      1.28 billion gallons

Fuel cost per gallon for U.S. airlines scheduled service:
October 2019:       $1.97
October 2020:       $1.14
September 2021:  $1.99
October 2021:       $2.23

The October 2021 cost per gallon ($2.23) for aviation fuel was up from September 2021 ($1.99). October’s cost per gallon was up from both October 2020 ($1.14) and October 2019 ($1.97). To date, the pandemic low fuel cost per gallon was in May 2020 ($1.03). 


Total fuel cost for U.S. airlines scheduled service:
October 2019:      $3.04 billion
October 2020:      $807 million
September 2021: $2.43 billion 
October 2021:      $2.85 billion

Total October 2021 fuel cost ($2.85B) was up 17.2% from September 2021 ($2.43B) and down 6.2% from pre-pandemic October 2019 ($3.04B).

The Fuel Cost and Consumption page can be found at 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 November data is scheduled for January 5, 2022.

Individual airline numbers through June are available on the BTS website. Individual airline numbers for July, August, and September will be available with the BTS third-quarter 2021 financial release on December 6.