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U.S. Gasoline Demand Fell 1.3% Last Week, MasterCard Says

U.S. gasoline demand declined 1.3 percent last week from the prior seven days and slipped below year-earlier levels for the 33rd consecutive week, MasterCard Inc. said.

Drivers bought 8.69 million barrels a day of gasoline in the seven days ended April 13, down from 8.8 million the prior week, according to MasterCard’s SpendingPulse report.

Demand fell 6.8 percent below a year earlier. Year-to-date, consumption is 5.4 percent lower than the same period in 2011.

“The negative pressures on gasoline continue to be high prices at the pump as well as increases in fuel efficiency,” John Gamel, a gasoline analyst and director of economic analysis for SpendingPulse, said in the report.

Fuel use over the previous four weeks was 5 percent below the same period in 2011, a record 56th consecutive decline in that measure.

The average pump price fell 2 cents in the past week to $3.92 a gallon, the report showed. Gasoline has jumped 20 percent this year and is 2.9 percent above a year earlier.

The highest prices are on the West Coast, where the average fell 3 cents to $4.19 a gallon. The lowest prices were in the Rocky Mountains, where a gallon increased 3 cents to $3.77.

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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