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Old 10-05-2012, 02:32 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Gas usage by state and county

Found this good article that shows per capita gallons used by region in the USA.

Thought you might find it interesting.

MAP: Gas Consumption In America - Business Insider

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Old 10-05-2012, 03:17 AM   #2 (permalink)
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So the closer you live to urbanized areas, the more gas you use? I wonder why, since urban areas are usually more compact, so you have only 2-3 miles to the store, not 20-30 like in rural areas.
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Old 10-05-2012, 03:48 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piwoslaw View Post
So the closer you live to urbanized areas, the more gas you use? I wonder why, since urban areas are usually more compact, so you have only 2-3 miles to the store, not 20-30 like in rural areas.
I think you interpreted the maps incorrectly.

The first map is simply the consumption in each county. The second map shows consumption per capita, and it tends to show rural areas as higher consuming (per capita). The 2 maps essentially contrast each other. High county consumption areas tend to have lower per capita consumption, while low county consumption areas have higher per capita consumption.

It's reasonable to assume people in rural areas drive further and are more likely to own a pickup truck.
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Old 10-05-2012, 06:43 AM   #4 (permalink)
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You're right. Sorry about that. My bad
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Old 10-05-2012, 12:39 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I think there might be a couple of problems with the underlying logic of those maps. I don't see how they could be getting true usage data, only sales. I would bet that a lot of rural counties have their sales bumped up by urban people stopping for gas when travelling between cities. Take for instance the drive along I-80 between Reno and Salt Lake city. Almost anyone making that 500+ mile trip is going to stop for gas enroute, in a county where the population is only a few thousand.

Then there's the question of how much rural gas is actually used by farmers who are producing food for the urban areas...
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Old 10-05-2012, 12:56 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
I think there might be a couple of problems with the underlying logic of those maps. I don't see how they could be getting true usage data, only sales. I would bet that a lot of rural counties have their sales bumped up by urban people stopping for gas when travelling between cities. Take for instance the drive along I-80 between Reno and Salt Lake city. Almost anyone making that 500+ mile trip is going to stop for gas enroute, in a county where the population is only a few thousand.

Then there's the question of how much rural gas is actually used by farmers who are producing food for the urban areas...
...Q: don't the farmers get a tax-break on their fuel purchases, so their consumption could be broken out of the "total" fairly easily?
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:54 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Old Tele man View Post
...Q: don't the farmers get a tax-break on their fuel purchases, so their consumption could be broken out of the "total" fairly easily?
Most farms use diesel in their tractors and for that they can buy a dyed diesel that they don't pay road use tax on, it's common for their road vehicles to have the fuel tested to see if they are burning untaxed fuel, but the fines are also high enough that it's not common and the dye stays in the fuel system for a long time so it's easy to spot.

But it is a good question, of course they did say it was for Gasoline consumption, not Diesel, so if they really did sort it that way then semi-trucks wouldn't be counted either, nor would a lot of city buses.
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Old 10-06-2012, 01:40 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryland View Post
Most farms use diesel in their tractors...
Sure, but the farmer may use his gasoline-fueled pickup for hauling stuff, like the fresh produce you buy at the farmers' market.

As I said, I don't KNOW whether the people who compiled these maps took things like that into account, just that it would be easy for them to do so, either deliberately or through not thinking about what's really involved.

I saw a similar analysis a few years ago, which tried to show that rural drivers were more dangerous than urban. The county with the highest per-capita highway deaths was one of the nearby very rural ones (I think the population at the time was under 2000), which just happened to have a (single vehicle) tour bus crash on the stretch of major highway running through it.
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Old 10-06-2012, 04:13 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamesqf View Post
Sure, but the farmer may use his gasoline-fueled pickup for hauling stuff, like the fresh produce you buy at the farmers' market.
Very true, but I live in an area surrounded by farms and I see way more pickup trucks being used as a commuter vehicle then I see being driven the same number of miles hauling produce to the farmers market and the farmers that I know tend to stick pretty close to home, not putting a whole lot of miles on their vehicles even when they do go some place.
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Old 10-07-2012, 08:22 PM   #10 (permalink)
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There are other problems. The data is per person, not per driver or eligible driver. Areas with lots of kids, seriously disabled people, people in nursing homes, jail, or college students living on campus would also be skewed lower. Likewise, areas with a high single adult working age population would typically have higher consumption per person.

But it is still interesting. Thanks for sharing.

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