U.S. Gasoline Use Slips to Lowest Level in MasterCard Dat

U.S. gasoline demand slid last week to the lowest level since MasterCard Inc. began tracking consumption in July 2004.

Drivers bought 7.82 million barrels a day of gasoline in the week ended Jan. 4, down 3.5 percent from 8.1 million in the prior period, MasterCard’s SpendingPulse report showed. The decline follows a drop of 9.5 percent in the seven days ended Dec. 28.

The average for the four weeks ended Jan. 4 was 2.9 percent below a year earlier. It has been down from the previous year every week except one since March 18, 2011. Demand in 2012 was 3.6 percent below 2011.

The average pump price rose 3 cents in the past week to $3.30 a gallon. Drivers are paying 0.9 percent less than a year earlier.

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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