Politics & Government

The Buzz: Californians hit the road more but use less gas

Californians may be driving more, but they’re using less fuel.

Over the past three decades – roughly the period since Jerry Brown ended his first governorship – California’s population has increased by more than 50percent, and the amount of automotive travel has doubled.

Even so, annual gasoline consumption went up by only 25 percent during that period, from about 12billion gallons to 15billion gallons. And a new report from the Board of Equalization points out that consumption has actually declined in recent years.

In 2008, as the recession hit, consumption plunged 4.1percent. Since then, smaller declines have been recorded, including a dip of of 1.3percent from 2011 to 2012.

California’s 22million drivers and 27.5million cars and light trucks now rack up more than 300billion vehicle-miles of travel each year. That works out to an average of about 13,000 miles per motorist.

The fuel numbers have been attributed to better mileage in newer cars.

In 1983, cars commonly got only 15 miles per gallon. Today, 30 mpg is not uncommon, and gasoline-electric hybrids can approach 100 mpg.

Dan Walters


The issue of sexual assault in the military has gained prominence on Capitol Hill, and today California lawmakers will examine the repercussions during a hearing conducted by the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee and the California Legislative Women’s Caucus. Witnesses include Lindsey Sin, a deputy secretary at the California Department of Veterans Affairs, and Jennifer Lucero, sexual assault response coordinator for the California National Guard. The hearing starts at 10 a.m. in the Capitol’s room 437.

Jeremy B. White


“Reducing the number of felons in prison is not one of those things that you get up and beat your chest about.”

Gov. Jerry Brown, responding to a question last week about California’s state prisons. The Brown administration is under a federal court order to cut the inmate population.