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U.S. Gasoline Demand Gains 0.4 Percent, MasterCard Reports

June 21 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. gasoline demand rose 0.4 percent from the prior year as pump prices fell for the sixth consecutive week, according to MasterCard Inc.

Motorists bought an average 9.35 million barrels a day in the week ended June 17, MasterCard said in its SpendingPulse report. Consumption rose 0.5 percent from the previous week’s 9.3 million, the second-biggest payments network company said.

“As prices continue to fall, gasoline demand seems to have climbed into barely positive territory in year-over-year terms, after the 1 percent to 2 percent declines recorded throughout most of April and May,” John Gamel, director of economic analysis for SpendingPulse, said in the report.

The average pump price dropped 6 cents to $3.69 a gallon. Prices are 37 percent above a year earlier.

Averaged over four weeks, gasoline use was 0.4 percent below the same period in 2010, Gamel said. It was the 13th consecutive decline in the average.

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. is the biggest payments network company by transactions processed.

To contact the reporter on this story: Barbara Powell in Dallas at bpowell4@bloomberg.net.

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

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