Gasoline Demand Rose 0.4% in U.S. Last Week, MasterCard Says

U.S. gasoline demand rose 0.4 percent in the seven days ending Jan. 27, the third consecutive week-over-week increase, MasterCard Inc. said.

Drivers bought 8.51 million barrels a day of gasoline, up from 8.48 million the prior week, according to MasterCard’s SpendingPulse report.

Fuel demand fell below year-earlier levels for the 22nd consecutive time last week, declining 5.5 percent from 2011.

“With the average price for a gallon of gasoline for the month of January the highest January price in SpendingPulse history, gasoline demand continues to post increasingly severe year-over-year declines,” John Gamel, a gasoline analyst and director of economic analysis for SpendingPulse, said in the report.

Gasoline use over the previous four weeks was 4.6 percent below the 2011 period, the 45th consecutive decline in that measure. MasterCard’s data goes back to July 2004.

The average pump price was unchanged a second week at $3.39 a gallon. Prices were 9.4 percent higher than 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. is the biggest payments network company by transactions processed.