Higher gasoline prices have resulted in Californians using less gas for five fiscal quarters in a row, a stage agency said Friday.
“With another quarter of soaring gasoline prices — the California average price in the first quarter was $4.06 — Californians might be altering their driving habits. But for a state that’s still heavily dependent on the automobile, that’s a slow, painstaking process,” said Jerome Horton, chairman of the State Board of Equalization.
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.
First quarter gas prices were up 40 cents to an average of $4.06, a 10.9-percent increase. The average price in March was up 41 cents to $4.41.
Diesel fuel consumption increased by 1.7 percent over a year ago, in spite of an 11.2-percent increase in diesel to an average of $4.28 per gallon.
“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,” the board said. “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.”
The board cited a study conducted in the spring by AAA members.
“As a result of current gas price increases, 84 percent of (AAA) respondents have already changed their driving habits or lifestyle in some way,” the board quoted the study as finding. “Combining trips and errands was the most commonly reported cost-cutting measure with 60 percent of respondents reporting having already made this adjustment.”
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