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U.S. Gasoline Demand Rises 4.5% Last Week, MasterCard Says

Gasoline demand was 8.95 million barrels a day last week, MasterCard Inc. said, up 4.5 percent from the previous week.

The data from MasterCard’s SpendingPulse report is for the week ended Dec. 21. Consumption the prior week was 8.56 million barrels a day, up 0.5 percent from the seven days ended Dec. 7.

The four-week average for the week ended Dec. 21 was 3.3 percent below a year earlier. It’s 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 average pump price fell 8 cents in the past week to $3.23 a gallon, unchanged from 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.

Visa Inc. is the biggest payments network company by transactions processed.

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