• As a result of the pandemic, a sizeable share of the workforce shifted to remote work, and travel slowed down significantly. Wholesale distribution of gasoline, diesel, and alternative fuels for motor vehicles also declined. In 2021, motor vehicle fuel wholesale distribution bounced back but remained below the pre-pandemic level, except for diesel and alternative fuels, which (combined) were 0.1 percent higher than the 2019 level.
  • Conversely, unlinked passenger trips (UPTs) continued to fall in 2021 (-3%) following the sharp decline (-52%) in 2020.111 Even pre-pandemic, UPTs had been falling in California for several years, due to factors such as increased access to automobiles and households increasingly relocating to outlying areas, resulting in longer commutes and less transit access.112 The decline in public transit ridership has been the most pronounced in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim MSA despite attempts to reverse this trend, including recent and current projects to expand rail service.113 For example, the L.A. Metro opened the K Line on Crenshaw Boulevard in October 2022, which represents the Metro’s largest transportation investment in the South Los Angeles region since the construction of the A and C Lines more than 20 years ago.114

111 It is likely that actual unlinked passenger trips fell by less than 52 percent. For example, riders of Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation (LACMTA), the largest public transportation agency, enjoyed free bus rides and did not need to use the TAP card to board; these rides are likely not counted by LACMTA.

112 Taylor, B. D., E. Blumenberg, J. Wasserman, M. Garrett, A. Schouten, H. King, J. Paul and M. Ruvolo (2020). Transit Blues in the Golden State: Analyzing Recent California Ridership Trends. UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies. Retrieved from: https://escholarship.org/uc/item/32j5j0hb

113 Ram, U. and Chong, H. (2020). Expanding Access to Sustainable Transportation in California. Next10. Retrieved from: https://www.next10.org/sites/default/files/2020-09/next10-sustainable-transportation_0.pdf

114 Honor, Joni and Sotero, David. “L.A. Metro Officially Opens the K Line, Marking a New Transit Milestone for Los Angeles County.” L.A. Metro, October 7, 2022. Available at: https://www.metro.net/about/l-a-metro-officially-opens-the-k-line-marking-a-new-transit-milestone-for-los-angeles-county/