Tags: mastercard | gasoline | energy

MasterCard: US Gasoline Demand Drops to Record Low

Tuesday, 14 Feb 2012 04:25 PM

U.S. gasoline demand tumbled last week to the lowest level in the seven-year history of MasterCard Inc.’s SpendingPulse report as the pump price climbed to a seasonal record.

Drivers bought 8.01 million barrels a day in the seven days ended Feb. 10, down 3.1 percent from a week earlier, according to MasterCard, which began collecting the data in July 2004.

The average pump price rose 3 cents to $3.50 a gallon, 12 percent above a year earlier and the highest price recorded for this time of year, John Gamel, a gasoline analyst and director of economic analysis for SpendingPulse, said in a telephone interview.

“We’ve been seeing 5 percent declines in demand for the last four consecutive weeks,” Gamel said from Seattle. “This isn’t weather-related. This is demand-related. Consumers are reacting to the highest prices we’ve ever seen.”

The pump price rose in all regions of the country. The biggest gain was in the U.S. Midwest, where the price rose 4 cents to $3.42 a gallon. The highest price was on the West Coast, where a gallon of regular cost $3.71.

Demand fell below year-earlier levels for a 24th consecutive time, decreasing 5.4 percent from 2011. Gasoline use over the previous four weeks was 5.3 percent below the 2011 period, the 47th consecutive decline 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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2012-25-14
Tuesday, 14 Feb 2012 04:25 PM
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