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

U.S. gasoline demand rose 1.9 percent last week as prices at the pump jumped to a 13-week high, according to data from MasterCard Inc.

Drivers bought 8.97 million barrels a day of gasoline in the week ended Aug. 17, up from 8.81 million the prior week, MasterCard’s SpendingPulse report showed. That’s the highest level since June 29.

Gasoline consumption in the week ended Aug. 10 fell 0.7 percent from the seven days ended Aug. 3. MasterCard releases weekly data every two weeks.

The average pump price rose 6 cents in the past week to $3.71 a gallon, the highest since May 18. Prices reached a year-to-date peak of $3.94 on April 6. The average has jumped 38 cents in six weeks and drivers are paying 12 cents more than a year earlier.

The highest prices were on the West Coast, where the average rose 17 cents to $3.95 a gallon. The lowest average was on the Gulf Coast, where a gallon gained 5 cents to $3.51.

Fuel consumption last week was 2.3 percent below the year-earlier level, the 51st straight drop in that measure. Year-to-date gasoline demand is 4.4 percent below 2011.

Fuel use over the previous four weeks fell 2.7 percent below the same period in 2011, a record 74th 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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