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California gasoline demand flat, diesel declined in Feb 2011

California gasoline consumption remained flat in February 2011, while diesel fuel consumption in California declined, according to the monthly report from the California State Board of Equalization.

California’s gasoline consumption remained flat in February 2011 with 1.131 billion gallons of gasoline, compared to 1.131 billion gallons in February 2010. In February 2011, the average price of gasoline at the pump in California was up 59 cents to $3.58 a gallon, a 20% increase, compared to California’s average price of $2.99 per gallon of gasoline in February 2010. The US average price of gasoline in February 2011 was up 56 cents to $3.26 per gallon, a 21% increase, compared the US average price of $2.70 per gallon of gasoline in February 2010.

In February 2011, California’s diesel consumption totaled 176.5 million gallons, which is 19.1 million gallons less than February 2010 when diesel consumption totaled 195.6 million gallons, a decrease of 9.8%. However, the February 2010 figures include an additional 11.3 million gallons of diesel fuel due to an audit assessment of prior monthly reporting periods. If the audit assessment of 11.3 million gallons in February 2010 are excluded from the calculations, diesel consumption still decreased by 4.2% in February 2011. California’s diesel fuel figures are net consumption that includes the State Board of Equalization’s audit assessments, refunds, amended and late tax returns and the California State Controller’s Office refunds.

The average price of diesel in California rose 86 cents to $3.80 per gallon in February 2011, a 29% increase compared to February 2010’s average price of $2.94 per gallon of diesel fuel in California. The US average price for diesel rose 28% in February 2011 to $3.58 per gallon, up 79 cents compared to last year in February when the US average price for diesel was $2.79.

The State Board of Equalization is able to monitor gallons through tax receipts paid by fuel distributors in California. Consumption figures for March 2011 are scheduled to be available at the end of June 2011.



VENDORS, maybe it's time for Diesel to sell for less than gasoline if you want to sell more. Most people just look at the price of Diesel being higher when buying a new car. They don't realize that you easily get at least 40-50% better MPG in real world (after break-in) long term driving.

But then they would rather less more fuel overall by keeping people on gasoline.

This is why taxes on gasoline should be more than Diesel for better environmental policy.


Why, in 2011, does it take California THREE MONTHS to process tax data? March data should be available Apr 1st, not end June...


There are not all that many diesel cars sold in the U.S. every year. California may have their pollution laws and other states may adopt those rules, but there are enough states that allow diesels and still not that many are sold.

I am not sure it is the price of diesel fuel nor the price of the car, when you look at the mileage. If they made diesel hybrids the numbers would be astounding, just like the 70 mpg the three PNGV cars got in 1999. If I could get a 60 mpg city/highway, I would certainly pay attention.

Nick Lyons


Fewer diesels are sold because the up front cost is higher. Most people stretch to buy a car and don't/can't consider the long term cost.


I was noticing a new gasoline Golf was $20,000 and the new diesel Golf was $23,000. When you consider hybrids costing maybe $8,000 more, the payback is visible.

I think that a lot of people in the U.S. think diesel cars are odd, they are for people out of the mainstream. Diesel pickups are OK, but diesel SUVs would not be.


Like with hybrids, many load up diesels with costly options... it should not be that much of a difference.


Like any other market, supply and demand affect price. When fuel prices were high before the housing bubble burst, VW dealers were selling diesel Golfs and Jettas at $1500 over sticker, as Toyota and Honda dealers did with hybrids.

Diesels, even "clean" ones, have dirtier tailpipe emissions. In smog-trapping crowded coastal cities, health effects from higher NOx and PM are magnified.


It should be possible to mass produce a light weight (1.0 Kg/hp), lower cost, 2-cyls, diesel or multi-fuel genset for people's 200+ mpg PHEVs.

As such gensets will not be used often of for high percentage of time, it would not have to be built to last for 300,000+ Km.


I did see a diesel SUV, a Ford Expedition Limited. It is a good thing they are limited, it was so big it barely fit in the parking spot.

Dave R

@SJC - Honda has 2 hybrids available for < $20k, the CRZ ($19.3) and Insight ($18.2). Civic Hybrid starts at $24k. Prius starts at $23.5k.

All are very comparable to the Golf TDI, but cost less per mile to fuel and have lower CO2 emissions (according to fueleconomy.gov).


2011 Honda Civic
LX 5-Spd AT

2011 Honda Civic hybrid

The point is the premium people pay for hybrid over the regular model or diesel over a gasoline model. You have to try to compare the same features, but there is a premium.

If it costs $3000 for the same features with a diesel, then fine. If it costs $5000 more for a hybrid with the same features, then fine. People want to know how much more they pay and when the savings will pay that back.


Let's not forget that not every one of the 2 million Prius owners insist on realizing a payback. People buy cars that satisfy their image and philosophy. Many EV buyers simply want to drive a vehicle that uses no fossil fuel. They do not worry about payback.

It's a little like paying extra for sustainable organic food. Not every human being is profit driven. There are millions who take positive, caring action every day.


There are people that pay more for leather and a sunroof, which they do not get back when they sell. They just like those features, so they buy them.


Because of the engine problems with early GM Diesels Americans have an unconscious bias implanted in their psyche.

This reduces the bottom line to the point where it is not profitable.

I would love to see a one liter Diesel genset in our next Hybrid.


Diesel for cars is available in more places, so a small diesel genset makes sense. It is an on/off operation, so noise might not be a big deal with constant speed/load.


Right on Lucas. It is not certain that we (the Big-3) can make a very low cost, low noise, light weight, small diesel (multi-fuel) engine for use as a PHEV genset. Europe and Asia has had more success in that field. An intercontinental contest may do it.


How many large SUVs and large pick-ups buyers worry about pay back time?


The payback is when they have to pile 5 kids in a few times a year or tow their boat a few times a year. The other 364 days they get 10 mpg going to pick up groceries.

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