U.S. Gasoline Demand Dropped Last Week, MasterCard Says

U.S. gasoline demand fell 0.9 percent last week as prices at the pump rose to a seven-week high, according to data from MasterCard Inc.

Drivers bought 8.87 million barrels a day of gasoline in the week ended Aug. 3, down from 8.95 million the prior week, MasterCard’s SpendingPulse report showed.

Gasoline consumption in the week ended July 27 was up 1.2 percent from the seven days ended July 20. MasterCard releases weekly data every two weeks.

The average pump price rose 5 cents in the past week to $3.53 a gallon, following a 5-cent gain in the week ended July 27. Prices reached a year-to-date peak of $3.94 on April 6. Drivers are paying 4.6 percent less than a year earlier.

The highest prices were on the West Coast, where the average rose 1 cent to $3.73 a gallon. The lowest average was on the Gulf Coast, where a gallon gained 2 cents to $3.34.

Fuel consumption last week was 3 percent below the year-earlier level, the 49th straight drop in that measure. Year-to-date gasoline demand is 4.6 percent below 2011.

Fuel use over the previous four weeks fell 4 percent below the same period in 2011, a record 72nd consecutive drop in that measure.

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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