Fuel Smart

Wednesday, July 21, 2010, 12:00 AM
Fuel Smart

What is Fuel Smart?

Fuel Smart is the employee-led effort to safely reduce fuel consumption by implementing viable suggestions from employees throughout the airline. Thanks to the dedication and commitment by the people of American Airlines, more than 800 million gallons of fuel have been saved and 17 billion pounds, or 7.8 million metric tons, of CO2 emission have been eliminated since the program began eight years ago.

The chart below shows the volatility and upward trend of fuel prices, as well as the impact of fuel saving efforts by American Airlines employees.


Average Jet Fuel Cost (per Gallon)

Annual Rate of Savings (Gallons)

Equivalent Fuel Cost Savings









































Below are some of the long-standing Fuel Smart initiatives that continue to help us save fuel today:

  • Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) Usage Reduction: The APU burns jet fuel to power aircraft systems, light the cabin and provide cool or heated air when needed for a comfortable temperature inside the aircraft. Using available ground power and pre-conditioned air equipment instead of the APU saves more than 6 million gallons of jet fuel and eliminates more than 126 million pounds of CO2 emissions annually.

  • Single-Engine Taxi: Pilots using only one engine during taxi, when safe and operationally feasible, saves more than 2 million gallons of jet fuel and eliminates about 42 million pounds of CO2 emissions annually.

  • Engine Wash: The engine wash program saves more than 7 million gallons of jet fuel per year by keeping aircraft engine components cleaner, which allows engines to operate more efficiently. About 150 million pounds of CO2 is eliminated annually through this initiative.

  • Winglets: Winglets installed on American's Boeing 737, 757 and 767 fleets improves airflow over the wing, which helps reduce fuel burn and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Through this initiative, more than 42 million gallons of jet fuel is saved and 898 million pounds of CO2 is eliminated annually.

  • High-speed Tow Tractors: Specialized high-speed tow tractors are utilized to transport aircraft between terminals and maintenance hangars, saving more than 4 million gallons of jet fuel and reducing CO2 emissions by 90 million pounds annually.

  • Aircraft Weight Reductions: By implementing aircraft weight reduction suggestions from American's people, more than 10 million gallons of jet fuel is currently saved and 221 million pounds of CO2 is eliminated each year through operating a lighter fleet of aircraft. Implemented suggestions include:
    • Removing unnecessary items from cabins such as old phone equipment, galley tables, magazine racks and razor outlets, and the removal of logo lights, the sum of which saves about 1 million gallons of jet fuel annually.

    • Replacing existing Boeing 757 and MD80 cargo liners with lighter-weight materials, and replacing cargo containers used on Boeing 767 and 777 aircraft with lighter weight containers saves nearly 3 million gallons of jet fuel annually.

    • Replacing American's 19,000 catering carts with newer models made with lighter materials saves nearly 2 million gallons of jet fuel annually.

    • Reducing potable water amounts, while retaining a safe amount for passengers and crew, removes enough water weight to save more than 2 million gallons of fuel annually.

    • Other weight reductions onboard include American's Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) program, where 35-pound pilot kitbags are being replaced by Apple iPads. Through this initiative, an estimated 400,000 gallons of jet fuel will be saved annually.

Saving with a New Purpose

In 2010, a partnership between American's Fuel Smart and Veterans Initiatives teams was established with Air Compassion for Veterans (ACV), a non-profit organization that helps active and retired U.S. military veterans and immediate family travel for medical, counseling and rehabilitation needs. Through this partnership, a portion of Fuel Smart savings generated by American's people is used by ACV to provide transportation for wounded warriors and their family. More than 5,000 individuals have been provided air transportation on American and American Eagle since this partnership began.