The Greenest U.S. Airlines

fuel efficient airlinesDid you know that every day, the airline industry uses around 4.5 million barrels of oil? There are many factors that contribute to how fuel efficient an airline is, including the types of planes it uses (older ones are less fuel efficient), frequency of flights, flight destinations, and more.

Fuel Efficiency

The International Council on Clean Transportation took these factors into consideration and ranked the fuel efficiency of U.S. airlines by the amount of excess fuel they used per unit transport service. Here is the list in order of most fuel efficient to least fuel efficient:

1. Alaska Airlines

2. Spirit Airlines

3. Hawaiian Airlines

4. Continental Airlines

5. Southwest Airlines

6. Frontier Airlines

7. JetBlue Airlines

8. United Airlines

9. Virgin America

10. Sun Country Airlines

11. Delta Airlines

12. US Airways

13. AirTran Airways

14. American Airlines

15. Allegiant Air


The industry average was 11% in excess fuel, with a total gap of 26% fuel efficiency between Alaska Airlines and Allegiant Air. There were also gaps found in the scores for flight routes (based on theĀ amount of miles per passenger per pounds of fuel). For instance: on a flight from New York to San Francisco, Continental scored a 13.1, while JetBlue scored an 11.0 and United, an 11.5. From San Francisco to San Diego, however, United scored an 8.3 while Virgin America scored a 7.7 and Southwest, a 7.6.

While it may seem that airplanes use a lot of fuel, flying is still the most fuel efficient way to travel – followed by trains, cars, and last by a landslide, buses.