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

May 1 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. gasoline demand fell 0.4 percent last week and consumption stayed below year-earlier levels for the 35th consecutive week, according to MasterCard Inc.

Drivers bought 8.65 million barrels a day of gasoline in the week ended April 27, down from 8.69 million the week before, according to MasterCard’s SpendingPulse report. That was 5.6 percent below the year-earlier level.

The average pump price fell 6 cents to $3.84 a gallon, down 1.3 percent from a year earlier.

“While prices have dropped 10 cents in the past three weeks, which is positive for gasoline consumption, gasoline demand continues to post noticeable declines year over year,” John Gamel, a gasoline analyst and director of economic analysis for SpendingPulse, said in the report.

Fuel use over the previous four weeks fell 5.2 percent from the same period in 2011, a record 58th consecutive drop in that measure.

The highest prices are on the West Coast, where the average fell 3 cents to $4.13 a gallon. The lowest prices were in the Gulf Coast, where a gallon sank 5 cents to $3.74.

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: Mario Parker in Chicago at mparker22@bloomberg.net

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

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