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California Gasoline demand increases

Data released earlier today by the California Board of Equalization shows that gasoline demand was up in October 2010 versus the same time last year. But at the same time, diesel demand was nearly 4% down from October 2009.
During the month of October, California drivers burned 1.257 billion gallons of gasoline, a 0.9% or 11 million gallon increase versus the same time 2009. On a month-to-month basis, October demand compared to September 2010 was up by almost 20 million gallons.
According to the BOE, retail gasoline prices in October 2010 averaged $3.15/gal, 9cts ahead of October 2009.
Diesel demand shifted lower, according to BOE statistics. During October 2010, California consumed 216 million gallons, a drop of 8 million gallons or 3.8%. A sharp drop from September to October was also noted of around 29 million gallons.
Retail diesel prices could have hampered demand as October 2010 prices were $3.21/gal, a 12.2% increase versus the same time last year. The sharp drop in demand comes at a time when many believe that the economy is improving. Diesel demand is typically viewed as a good barometer for the health of the economy as diesel demand is mostly derived from trucks moving goods. Some sources believe that while the economy may be improving, retailers after 2008-2009 have become better at managing inventories, and that may have chewed into demand a bit.
California is one of the only states that gives detailed demand numbers that are based on taxable sales. The numbers are derived from tax receipts paid by fuel distributors and are released approximately 90 days after a month’s end.
–Denton Cinquegrana,