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U.S. Gasoline Demand Sinks 3.7% Last Week, MasterCard Says

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Dec. 11 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. gasoline demand slid 3.7 percent last week to the lowest level since Nov. 16, according to data from MasterCard Inc.

Drivers bought 8.52 million barrels a day of gasoline in the week ended Dec. 7, down from 8.84 million in the prior period, MasterCard’s SpendingPulse report showed. The decline follows a gain of 0.1 percent in the seven days ended Nov. 30.

The four-week average in the week ended Dec. 7 was 2.4 percent below a year earlier. It has been down from the previous year every week except one since March 18, 2011. Year-to-date fuel consumption is 3.6 percent below the same period in 2011.

The lowest demand this year through Oct. 26 was 8.01 million barrels on Feb. 10. The highest level reached was 9.36 million on May 25.

The average pump price fell 4 cents in the past week to $3.38 a gallon, the cheapest since the week ended July 13, the report showed. Drivers are paying 2.7 percent more than a year earlier. Prices reached a year-to-date peak of $3.94 on April 6.

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.

To contact the reporter on this story: Barbara J Powell in Dallas at bpowell4@bloomberg.net

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

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