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Gasoline consumption falls in California

California drivers are keeping their feet on the brakes, with gasoline demand falling for eight months in a row.

Gasoline consumption in California totaled 1.23 billion gallons in October, down 1.8% from the 1.26 gallons used the previous October, according to a report released Tuesday by California State Board of Equalization Chairman Jerome E. Horton. The last time gas use increased was in January 2011, when consumption rose 2.7%. Consumption was flat in February.

“High gas prices appear to be directly affecting fuel consumption in California,” Horton said. “We are seeing a trend of Californians consuming less gasoline in the last eight months of 2011.

“We’ll see what coming months show as California begins to turn the corner and shows signs of economic growth.”

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California’s average gasoline price jumped 74 cents to $3.89 a gallon in October, up 23% from $3.15 a gallon in October 2010. The U.S. average rose 66 cents, or 23%, to $3.51 in October.

The Board of Equalization tracks consumption through tax receipts paid by fuel distributors in California, which accounts for the reporting lag as data is tallied. October 2011 is the most recent month for which statistics are available.

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