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California gasoline consumption down 0.8% in July 2010

California gasoline demand fell by 0.8% in July compared to last year, according to figures released by the state’s Board of Equalization (BOE). In July 2010, Californians used 1.27 billion gallons of gasoline compared to 1.28 billion gallons the same month last year. The average California gasoline price at the pump in July was $3.17 per gallon compared to $2.92 in July 2009, an increase of 8.6%.

California diesel fuel data show an increase of 1.6% in July over last year, which is a variation due to refunds for diesel fuel in July 2009. Data show diesel fuel sold in California during July 2010 totaled 219.3 million gallons compared to July 2009’s total of 215.8 million gallons, which is an increase of 1.6%. California diesel fuel prices were $3.12 per gallon in July 2010 compared to $2.73 per gallon in July 2009, an increase of 14.3%.

However, while the diesel gallons reflected in the July numbers are up 3.5 million gallons, indicating an increase of 1.6%, the consumption change from last July is likely to be less because the July 2009 figures include refunded gallons of 9.6 million gallons. The gallons included in the monthly consumption numbers are always net of audit assessments and refunds. The July 2009 refunds were larger than most and may have skewed the July 2010 percentage change to a 1.6% increase from a decline of 2.7%.

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 August 2010 are scheduled to be available at the end of November 2010.



So, the light duty fleet appears to be using less fuel on an annualized basis. Most of this likely comes from efficiencies in the vehicle fleet. But some may be due to less driving.

It's doubtful that driving habits ("behaviors" for the educators)will change much as people still need to make long commutes and regular trips for lifestyle. IF however 1-2% of those miles become electric or alcohol miles - gasoline consumption falls.

Which is precisely why California needs to legislate E85 pumps at major gas stations. Just as they would legislate low lead gas, or recycling nozzles on pumps.

Flex fuel vehicles and just one E85 pump at major gas stations would begin the necessary decline in imported oil.

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