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California Gasoline Demand Down 0.1%, Prices Up 24% in May

California’s gasoline consumption declined 0.1% compared with the same month last year although the average price at the pump increased 24% to $3.14 per gallon, according to figures from the state’s Board of Equalization (BOE).

Gasoline consumption edged down 0.1% in May 2010 when Californians consumed 1.290 billion gallons of gasoline compared to 1.291 billion gallons consumed in May 2009. California drivers paid an average price at the pump of $3.14 per gallon for gasoline in May 2010, which is an increase of 24% compared to May 2009 when the average price at the pump for gasoline was $2.53.

Diesel consumption in May 2010 shows that Californians used 205 million total gallons, which is a 2.1% decline from May 2009’s total of 209 million gallons of diesel used in California. Diesel prices in California in May 2010 were $3.20 per gallon, which is an increase of 36% compared to May 2009 when California diesel prices were $2.35 per gallon. Diesel consumption generally follows economic activity and is especially closely related to construction and transportation of goods.

The BOE is able to monitor gallons through tax receipts paid by fuel distributors. The figures reported monthly are net consumption that includes BOE audit assessments, refunds, amended and late tax returns, and State Controller’s Office refunds. Figures for June 2010 are scheduled to be available at the end of September 2010.



Thank goodness for cheap oil.

At 24% annual increase compounded for 5 years, gas would only be $9.20/gallon.

Let's direct our Government Motors to build more SUVs.


...and the drop in consumption would be, erm, 0.5%?

High hikes in fuel in the UK hasn't really affected consumption, so don't expect it to happen in Cali either.

If people have to travel, they will travel and if it costs more they will pay more and just offset the spending elsewhere. That's how we got used to the $8-10 gallon in the UK.


In the short term, there is nothing much people can do, but when it comes time to replace your car, the decision to buy more economical vehicles is pretty clear.

This has happened over the last 50 (or whatever) years in Europe where there has always been a "dear fuel" policy.

If fuel got really expensive in the US (and stayed that way), it would happen within 10-15 years as people replaced their cars.

But year to year, you won't see it, especially if the price signals are mixed (i.e. very expensive in 2008, much cheaper in 2009, dearer a bit in 2010 etc.)


The timing is just about right for a 24% increase in gas pricing. In another 90 days the impact of $3.20+ gas will resound louder in the ears of Cali drivers. At just the time the very first mass produced EVs are introduced, Cali is seeing it's highest gasoline prices.

Let's see, does $1.50/day energy beat $6.00/day gasoline cost?? Considering all things equal, for a $350./month lease of a Volt or Leaf vs. $350/month SUV lease. These higher gas prices are fitting nicely into the EV rollout.


Just my observations, but ever since the $4+ gasoline of July 2008, I see fewer large SUVs on the roads. This county has LOTS of large SUVs and people seem to use them less for every day errands.


We had gas as high as $1.25/L (about $4.45/US gal) to a low $0.97/L (about $3.45/Us gal) in the last few days.

It seems that the majority gets use to higher prices for gas as long as it is below $4/US gal. Above that level, many start looking for more efficient vehicles.

A progressive extra gas tax, i.e. about $0.02/gal to $0.05/gal per month for the following 24 to 96 months could convince many more buyers to go for more efficient vehicles. Those new revenues could finance new roads (repair existing one + create work for many) and finance new incentives for HEVs + PHEVs + BEVs purchase. Of course, the Beckomania crowd would shout it down but it would give them something to shout about.


Scott, I doubt 50% of new car sales are trucks(pickups, SUVs, etc) in Britain, or will they be in the US when gas hits $9/gallon.

You should have seen the cheap used trucks when gas hit $4/gallon in the US. We've simply achieved short enough memories to see cheap SUVs, Bush-like Republicans, etc over and over again.


In 1992 Ross Perot favored a 5 cent per gallon tax added every year for 10 years. He did not win the election and we heard no more about it. This would have brought in road revenue and encouraged efficiency, but some political topics are too hot to mention.


Isn't that how it's supposed to work. When demand goes down the prices go up and when demand goes up the prices do likewise.

This is just too easy!


By the way if one wants to bid on California high speed rail projects one had better be prepared to say what one did or did not do during WWII.

Check it out:



http://hnn.us/articles/38526.html .. whafor GM..t's good


Wow, thanks for the link Kelly. Disturbing stuff.


Supply and demand do not always set the price. Cartels, politics, lobbies, speculators, banks, large corporations, natural disasters, wars, economic crisis etc etc also play a major role.

For example, increasing corn based ethanol production could and will have major effect on most food price. That is a political/economical decision. Many countries have to reduce crude oil imports to avoid financial problems/imbalances.


Corn futures were bid up by hedge funds and caused a major disruption in ethanol production. Corn ethanol was meant to be a short term program until synthetic fuels came online. That never happened and the farm lobby latched on to a profitable industry. 30 years later here we are stuck with something that is less than optimal.


I love nitwits that babble stupidly about companies involvement with the the holocaust.

Companies cant move they cant run away and they cant refuse to do anything demanded of them. If they refused to do anything all thier families were rounded up and 1/10th of them were shot. Its called decimation go look it up.

Its a wonderful motivational tool.... makes you all warm and fuzzy.

Now onto why demand is down. Its simple and I told you it would happen years ago. Every year a bit more then 1% of the population DIES and a bit more then that is born. The older generations tended to enjoy travel more then younger people do and younger people tend to game alot more then older generations do.

So each year what the population as a whole is doing shifts. Lucky for us its shifting in the direction it is.



Yeah but my point is that fuel tax is a regressive blunt instrument. It works to a point where it cuts out the excess. However, as in the UK, it goes beyond what is fair and penalises people even with the most efficient cars. It also affects the haulage industry, which in turn affects the price of goods in the shop, even the lovely organic, everything friendly, right-on feel-smug products.

Despite that SUVs have become more popular, not less over the last decade or so, contrary to fuel price rises. I guess however that this is linked to local councils turning out roads into assault courses with road humps, chicanes and bollards everywhere.



It's called profiteering, right down to demanding and getting reparations for the "Allies" bombing GM's German (Opel) truck plants - go look it up.

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