U.S. airlines are stalling out in their fuel efficiency efforts, and low oil prices may reduce the incentive to replace older aircraft with newer, more efficient models.
“The domestic airline industry made no net improvements on fuel efficiencies last year, raising questions about its ability to reduce carbon emissions as fuel costs level off and fall,” FuelFix reported last month. While “small, ultra low-cost carriers made significant gains last year, their progress was offset by the larger legacy carriers which continue to burn more fuel.”
“Conventional wisdom says that fuel prices alone will be enough to drive airline efficiency, but that’s not what the data tells us,” said Dan Rutherford of the non-profit International Council on Clean Transportation. “This study highlights the need for international policies to address aviation emissions now that countries like China and the U.S. have announced their own commitments.”