Transportation: Gasoline Use & Fuel Efficiency


Why Is This Important?
Motor vehicles are the largest source of pollution in San Mateo County, impacting both air and water quality.  The transportation sector accounts for over half of the county’s total carbon dioxide emissions, a greenhouse gas linked to climate change.  High gasoline costs can have a major impact on household spending as the prices of all goods are affected by high fuel costs.

What Is a Sustainable State?
A sustainable state is one that is carbon neutral and where alternative fuels or modes of transportation are available so that high fuel prices do not severely impact a household’s ability to purchase needed items.

How Are We Doing?

  • In 2006, gasoline consumption in San Mateo County was 353 million gallons,
    the lowest total consumption in more than a decade.
  • In 2006, per capita gasoline consumption was 486 gallons, a 3 percent decrease
    from 2005.  Although this was the lowest per capita consumption in the
    county in more than a decade, it was still higher than the national level
    (467 gallons).
  • In 2006, gasoline prices in the Bay Area averaged $2.81 per gallon.  At
    the national level, gasoline prices averaged $2.64 per gallon.
  • In 2006, inflation-adjusted gasoline prices in the county were 8 percent
    higher than in 2005 and 45 percent higher than in 1997.
  • In 2006, the county’s average fuel economy increased by 3 percent
    to reach 19.6 miles per gallon.  It has been consistently higher than
    the national average fuel economy (although we do not have a national figure
    for 2006, it was 16.7 miles per gallon in 2005).
  • The San Francisco Metropolitan Area ranks second in the nation in hybrid
    vehicle popularity with an average of over 8.6 hybrids per 1,000 residents.  Among
    states, California leads the nation in purchases of hybrid automobiles.


Data source: California Department of Transportation


Data sources: California Department of Transportation and the California Department of Finance


Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007
Signed into law in December 2007, the Energy Independence and Security Act increases the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) standards for the first time since 1975.  This law requires automakers to boost fleetwide gasoline mileage to 35 miles per gallon by the year 2020.  The requirement applies to all passenger automobiles, including light trucks.  Before this law was passed, CAFÉ standards called for passenger automobiles to average 27.5 miles per gallon and light trucks to average 20.7 miles per gallon.    

See appendix page 78, CLICK HERE. Researcher: Jeremy Fisher

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From the 2014 Indicators Report

22 percent of adults in the county are considered obese

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