Gasoline consumption, which has been relatively flat for years in California, accelerated in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to the state’s Board of Equalization.
BOE said Californians purchased 3.799 billion gallons of gasoline in the last quarter of 2015, compared with 3.715 billion gallons in the same period of 2014. That’s up nearly 2.3 percent year over year.
The 2015 total was the most gasoline purchased in the fourth quarter since 2007, when Golden State drivers bought 3.902 billion gallons.
The average fourth-quarter price for gasoline in 2015 was $2.63 per gallon (minus sales tax), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That’s the lowest fourth-quarter price for gasoline since 2008, when it was $2.39 per gallon.
“An improving economy and lower gas prices have made it easier for Californians to hit the road,” said BOE member George Runner.
Diesel consumption rose slightly in the fourth quarter of 2015, to 715 million gallons compared with 710 million in 2014. Diesel consumption generally is an indicator of truck activity and highway commerce.
Gas price tracker GasBuddy’s travel study of U.S. motorists found that more than 75 percent said they would be traveling this summer, a 2.2 percent increase from last year, with an overwhelming majority (79 percent) traveling by car.