In 2020, energy consumption per capita was substantially lower than 1990 levels across all sectors in California. In particular, energy consumption per capita in the transportation sector has declined extraordinarily, and it is the only sector where consumption has fallen more than 9 percent year-over-year since 1990.
Although energy consumption in the transportation sector has been declining in recent years, the opposite is true for the residential sector. Energy consumption in residential sectors rose 3.6 percent year-over-year in 2020 primarily due to the pandemic, while it decreased 23 percent in the transportation sector. For the transportation sector in particular, per capita energy consumption decreased by 18 percent from 2015 to 2020. While multiple factors are likely responsible, AB 32 and similar state policies have been linked to reductions in VMT and transportation consumption.179
179 For instance, see Greenblatt, J. B. (2015). Modeling California policy impacts on greenhouse gas emissions. Energy Policy, 78, 158–172. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2014.12.024