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Tuesday, September 11, 2012 11:57 AM

Petroleum And Gasoline Usage Charts for June, July, August; Unemployment vs. Gasoline Usage Analysis

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Another summer is gone. How much gasoline was used vs. the same months in prior years? These charts from Tim Wallace have the answer.

Total Petroleum Usage

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Gasoline Usage

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General Comments

  • Gasoline usage is the same as it was in 2001 or 2002, depending on the month.
  • Petroleum usage is the same as it was in 1997 or 1998, depending on the month.
  • Gallons per mile did not suddenly improve in 2007. Thus declining gasoline usage cannot be attributed to improved gas mileage, cash for clunkers, etc.
  • There was a rebound in June and July of 2010 consistent with the economic recovery. For August alone there was rebound in 2010 and 2011.
  • Based on gasoline usage, the economy has stalled or there is some other force in play, not related to improved gas mileage.

Jobs, Demographics, Attitudes

  • Those who are unemployed do not drive many miles.
  • People back in school or hiding out in school hoping to get a job later do not drive many miles.
  • Those who want a job and need a job but instead retired to have money coming in from Social Security do not drive many miles.
  • Those on disability do not drive many miles.
  • The commercial real estate boom which lasted another year or two after housing died came crashing to earth in 2007. Construction and stocking of the final commercial real estate build-out took a lot of gasoline and diesel. That fact explains the last push higher in June and July of 2007.
  • Attitudes of millennials towards cars and transportation vs. their boomer parents have come into play.
  • Because of the economy, people are taking vacations closer to home, driving fewer miles to do so.

Gasoline usage mirrors the weak recovery in jobs. Forget about the falling unemployment rate because the rest of the Household Survey tells the real story.

Quick Notes About the Unemployment Rate

  1. US Unemployment Rate -.2 to 8.1%
  2. This month the number of people employed fell by 119,000.
  3. In the last two months, the number of people employed fell by 314,000!
  4. In the last year, the civilian population rose by 3,695,000. Yet the labor force only rose by 971,000.
  5. This month the Civilian Labor Force fell by 368,000.
  6. Last month, those "not" in the labor force increased by 348,000 to 88,340,000, another record high.
  7. This month we set another record high with a whopping 581,000 dropping out of the labor force. If you are not in the labor force, you are not counted as unemployed. 
  8. In the last year, those "not" in the labor force rose by 2,723,000 
  9. Over the course of the last year, the number of people employed rose by 2,347,000. 
  10. Participation Rate fell .02 to 63.5%;
  11. There are 8,031,000 workers who are working part-time but want full-time work, a decrease of 215,00. This one the only bright spot in the report.
  12. Long-Term unemployment (27 weeks and over) was 5.033 million a decline of 152,000 (likely an artifact of the decline in the labor force).
  13. Were it not for people dropping out of the labor force, the unemployment rate would be well over 11%.

Over the past several years people have dropped out of the labor force at an astounding, almost unbelievable rate, holding the unemployment rate artificially low. Some of this was due to major revisions last month on account of the 2010 census finally factored in. However, most of it is simply economic weakness.

Unemployment vs. Gasoline Usage Analysis

In terms of gasoline usage, nearly all of the above points apply, especially two through nine, eleven, and twelve.

This recovery is far weaker than the decline in unemployment suggests. Gasoline usage is consistent with that thesis.


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