Nearly a Third of Gasoline in California Consumed by Just 10% of Drivers, Per New Report From Coltura

Low-income “Gasoline Superusers” Spend Nearly a Quarter of Income on Gasoline

MENLO PARK, Calif., March 30, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The top ten percent of California drivers in terms of gasoline consumption (“Gasoline Superusers”) burn 28% of the state’s gasoline, and use on average 3.5 times as much gasoline as other drivers, per a new report by the nonprofit Coltura.

The majority of Gasoline Superuser households earn less than the median household income, and their heavy gasoline use comes with enormous financial cost. “Prioritizing Superusers’ switch to EVs would maximize emissions reductions and improve the finances of the most gasoline-burdened families,” said Janelle London, co-executive director of Coltura.

For instance, Compton has more than 5,000 Superusers and a median household income of $54,000. Superuser households there spend annually on average $15,000, or 28% of their income on gasoline. 

“Among Latino/es, who earn less, face longer commutes, and suffer many health impacts from vehicle pollution, incentivizing a transition away from gasoline is especially urgent,” said Andrea Marpillero-Colomina, Sustainable Communities Program Director for Green Latinos.

The report findings include:

  • California has approximately 3 million Superusers
  • Superusers drive an average of 2,000 miles a month
  • Superusers spend on average 15% of household income on gasoline, and 24% with maintenance and repairs
  • A typical Superuser spends about $500 a month on gasoline
  • There are twice as many Superusers in rural areas as in urban ones

Alongside the report, Coltura has released an interactive map of California that provides zip-code level details on gasoline consumption and expenditures.

Coltura’s analysis shows that if Superusers switched to EVs first, it would take 9 million drivers switching to EVs to reach California’s target of cutting gasoline use by half by 2030. If Superusers switched to EVs last, it would take 24 million EVs to halve gasoline use.

New California legislation aims to help lower-income Superusers
Recently-introduced California bill AB 1267 aims to expedite Superusers’ switch to EVs. Bill Magavern, Policy Director for the Coalition for Clean Air, said, “Coltura’s research demonstrates the need to free 3 million Californians from their heavy reliance on expensive, polluting gasoline. That’s why we support Asm. Phil Ting’s AB 1267, which would target EV incentives to those who most need them – low and moderate-income drivers who use the most gasoline.”

The bill passed the Assembly Transportation Committee with a unanimous vote on March 27. If it becomes law, it would be the first legislation linking EV incentives to drivers’ gasoline use.

Coltura is a nonprofit working to cut gasoline use at speed and scale. It is the organizational sponsor of California AB 1267.

MEDIA CONTACT: Emily Davila, Communications Director,
(206) 445-7628 ext. 1


SOURCE Coltura