California Gasoline Consumption Falls For Five Quarters

Gasoline Prices Increased 10.9% in the First Quarter

Gasoline consumption in California fell for the fifth consecutive quarter, declining 0.4 percent, as gasoline prices went up 10.9 percent in the first quarter of 2012, according to a report released today by George Runner, Second District Member of the California State Board of Equalization (BOE). Editor’s note: See chart of year-over-year quarterly gasoline consumption comparisons.

“Gas consumption may have slipped a bit, but the trend clearly shows we are turning a corner,” said Senator Runner. “I’m hopeful that lower gas prices this summer will mean more Californians can fill up their tanks and take a vacation. That would be good for our economy and good for jobs.”

gas consumption comparisons
Year Over Year Quarterly Gas Consumption Comparisons. Click graphic to enlarge

First quarter average gasoline prices were up 40 cents to $4.06-a 10.9 percent increase-while the average price in March was up 41 cents to $4.41. Total gasoline consumption for the first quarter declined 15.7 million gallons compared to the first quarter last year, for a total of 3.6 billion gallons used.

Diesel fuel consumption increased 1.7 percent compared to a year ago, as California consumed an additional 10.1 million gallons, for a total of 597 million gallons in the first quarter. In California, diesel averaged $4.28 a gallon, up 43 cents-an 11.2 percent increase-from last year’s first quarter. Both gasoline and diesel fuel prices in California continued to be higher than the national average price.

Nationally, regular gasoline averaged $3.66 a gallon, up 32 cents from last year’s first quarter according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). The EIA diesel retail prices reported the national average price of diesel was up 34 cents to $3.97-an increase of 9.4 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier.

diesel consumption comparison
Year Over Year Quarterly Diesel Consumption Comparisons Click graphic to enlarge

In March, a survey and resulting graphic from AAA identified how drivers are changing their behavior to help offset higher prices at the pump. AAA concluded: “As a result of current gas price increases, 84 percent of (AAA) respondents have already changed their driving habits or lifestyle in some way.

Combining trips and errands was the most commonly reported cost-cutting measure with 60 percent of respondents reporting having already made this adjustment.”

BOE monitors gasoline consumption using tax receipts paid by fuel distributors in California. BOE updates the fuel reports at the end of each month.

California Fuel Statistics and Reports

Elected in November 2010, George Runner represents the California State Board of Equalization’s Second District. He is a leading advocate for California taxpayers.

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