Gasoline consumption is less than 1 percent lower than last year. As of November 2012, consumption for the year totaled 143,672,757 gallons while consumption during the same time period in 2011 totaled 143,998,618 gallons. Consumption for the month of November 2012 totaled 16,630,119 gallons, which was 45 percent higher than consumption in the same month in 2011. As shown in the graph below, November's consumption was 7 percent lower than consumption during the previous month.
In the fall of 2009, expectations for a record corn harvest came to fruition. Corn and ethanol prices felt the impact and were pushed lower. Even with the expectations and then the actual harvest record, annual consumption of motor gasoline for 2009 totaled 261,179,445 gallons, which was an 18–percent increase from 2008.
In 2008, increases in gasoline prices worked as an incentive for consumers to use an ethanol–blended fuel. Gasoline prices began to fall, but motorists did not immediately return to using 100–percent gasoline. The annual consumption for 2008 totaled 221,355,779 gallons, which was a 22–percent decrease from 2007.
Total gasoline consumption for 2007 was 285,501,195 gallons, which was a 24–percent decrease from 2006. Additional ethanol operating capacity had pushed ethanol prices lower, and gasoline prices had finally reached the level that people would no longer pay. Since 2001, total consumption had fallen over 50 percent.
Consumption increased from January to March of 2006 paralleling a reduction in ethanol–blended fuel consumption possibly due to the increase in the price of ethanol. Consumption numbers for April through November were contradicted by similar but opposite movements in ethanol–blended fuel consumption.
Gasoline consumption decreased significantly in 2005 from prior years. Increased availability and increased consumption of ethanol–blended fuel were likely factors in these reductions. Total consumption of gasoline and ethanol–blended fuel changed very little from 2000 to 2004 which indicates a shift in consumption of the individual fuels. The ethanol–blend market share is also a sign that there is an increase in ethanol–blend substitution for gasoline.
Other indications that ethanol–blended fuels are being substituted for gasoline are both consumption and reported miles traveled during the driving season. The driving season is traditionally the months between the Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends each year, so the months of June, July, and August usually have higher demand for transportation fuels. Gasoline consumption rose during June and July of 2006 and fell in August, September, October, and November. In contrast, ethanol–blended fuel consumption moved in an opposite direction than that of gasoline consumption and the number of reported miles traveled indicated very little difference from prior years.
Note: The motor gasoline data in this report includes the three grades of gasoline (regular unleaded, midgrade, and premium) but does not include the gallons of gasoline blended with ethanol.