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U.S. Gasoline Use Falls 2.7% From Year Earlier, MasterCard Says

U.S. gasoline consumption declined 2.7 percent last week from a year earlier, the ninth straight week in which demand has fallen short of year-ago levels, according to MasterCard Inc.

Drivers used 8.78 million barrels a day of gasoline in the week ended Oct. 28, down from 9.03 million a year earlier and from 8.84 million the previous week, according to MasterCard Inc.’s SpendingPulse report.

Averaged over four weeks, fuel demand was lower than a year earlier for the 32nd consecutive week. Gasoline use in 2011 through Oct. 28 is down 1.2 percent from a year earlier, the second-biggest payments network company said.

The average pump price declined 2 cents to $3.45 a gallon. Prices were 23 percent higher than a year earlier.

Gasoline demand peaked this year at 9.56 million barrels a day in the week ended July 1 as motorists filled their tanks before the July 4 holiday weekend. The lowest level of consumption occurred in the week ended Feb. 11 when consumers bought 8.47 million barrels a day.

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.

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