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American Airlines named “greenest” airline in the U.S. by Newsweek

For many of us, the practice of being kinder to the environment is largely a personal issue, especially when it comes to transportation. Riding a bike or choosing a more fuel-efficient car are easy enough, but when it comes to big trips, those necessitating air travel, we often think of it as being out of our hands. Here to help is Newsweek’s 2012 Green Rankings, a list of the US companies which rate the highest in their efforts to be environmentally friendly. AMR, the parent company to American Airlines, tops the list of airlines for their third consecutive year.

Getting special mention is American’s “Fuel Smart” program, which was introduced in 2005 and is a way for employees to help identify fuel saving opportunities. The program has saved a reported 700 million gallons of fuel since the program’s inception, an amount which would have produced some 7 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions. American also reports that they recycled 12 million aluminum cars last year, an amount equivalent to the aluminum content of four Boeing 737 aircraft. Even the corks from wine bottles amounted to 1,300 tons of recycled material.

More significant in the long run is the phasing out of less fuel-efficient aircraft. Last year, American Airlines placed the largest aircraft order in history, a total of 460 planes from Boeing and Airbus. These aircraft, which will be delivered between 2013 and 2022, will be 35 percent more fuel-efficient than the craft they replace. American says that by 2017, they will have the youngest and most fuel-efficient fleet by 2017. Further efforts involve finding more efficient navigation practices and investing more into technology which will help in reducing the airline’s carbon footprint.

The report is well-timed, as we’re just approaching the holiday travel season. If we’re going to obsess over every last mpg on our cars, it only stands to reason that we should be even more concerned about our environmental impact when traveling thousands of miles. This isn’t always the easiest thing to do, but that’s why Newsweek publishes the report. It’s worth checking out for more than just airlines too, there are food companies, materials manufacturing and parcel shipping included as well. American isn’t the only airline either, although it is the highest rated, Southwest Airlines also got a mention. Good information to have over the next couple of months.