On-Road Fuel Consumption In California Continued Decline in July

Jose Michael

Gasoline consumption in California declined 5.6% in July 2008 from July 2007, according to figures released by the State Board of Equalization (BOE). Californians consumed 1.26 billion gallons of gasoline in July—74.2 million gallons below that of July 2007.

July 2008 diesel fuel sold for use on California roads totaled 243 million gallons, a decline of 7.9%, or 20.8 million gallons below that of July 2007. The decreased consumption reflects both the impacts of higher diesel prices of $4.97 in July 2008 and the slowing economy that is associated with less freight movement on California roads and highways.

The average California gas price at the pump in July 2008 was $4.51 per gallon, a 42.3 percent increase from the average price of July last year when it was $3.17. The BOE estimates that nearly twice as much sales tax is generated annually by higher gasoline prices than five years ago. Those higher prices generated approximately $3.6 billion in sales tax during 2007 when the average price was $3.12. In contrast, 2003’s gasoline sales generated $2.1 billion when the average pump price was $1.88.

California diesel prices were up 59.3% in July 2008 compared to July of 2007 when the average diesel price was $3.12.

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average price of gasoline in California (all blends) in October has dropped to $3.38. The price of diesel is down to an average $3.568 for the month.

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