Every day the US airline industry burns more than 40 million gallons of jet fuel. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that every time the price of oil rises by $1 a gallon, it costs the airline industry $1.6 billion. Late last year, IATA estimated the industry would make $9.1 billion in 2011 if oil stayed at $84 a barrel. It is now $13 a barrel higher than that, more than enough to wipe out most of the industry’s profits.
Recently, American Airlines tacked on a $10 per roundtrip fuel surcharge. In addition, since December, many of the carriers have raised prices about 25 percent.