U.S. Gasoline Demand Gained 0.1% Last Week, MasterCard Says

U.S. gasoline demand rose 0.1 percent from the previous week as average pump prices rose for the fourth straight week, MasterCard Inc. (MA) said.

Drivers bought 9.27 million barrels a day in the week ended July 29, up from 9.26 million a week earlier, MasterCard said in its weekly SpendingPulse report. Demand was down 3.1 percent from a year earlier.

Averaged over four weeks, demand fell 1.9 percent. It was the 19th consecutive week that the four-week average fell below the previous year, said John Gamel, gasoline analyst for SpendingPulse.

“For the last half of July, gasoline consumption has not even been able to reach 65 million barrels per week,” Gamel said. Last year’s demand at that time was near 67 million barrels, he said.

Higher prices, hot weather and “uncertain economic conditions” are reducing consumption this year, he said.

The average pump price rose 1 cent in the period ended July 29 from the prior week to $3.70 a gallon, up 36 percent from a year earlier.

The report from Purchase, New York-based MasterCard is assembled by MasterCard Advisors, the company’s consulting arm. The information is based on credit-card swipes and cash and check payments at about 140,000 U.S. gasoline stations.

Visa Inc. (V) is the biggest payments network company by transactions processed.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lynn Doan in San Francisco at ldoan6@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net.

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