U.S. gasoline demand fell 7.2 percent below a year earlier last week, the biggest drop in that measure in more than two years, MasterCard Inc. (MA) said.
Drivers bought 8.49 million barrels a days of gasoline in the seven days ended March 9, according to MasterCard’s SpendingPulse report. It was the 28th consecutive week that consumption was lower than year-earlier levels.
Purchases totaled 59.4 million barrels, the 11th week in a row that demand fell below 60 million. That’s a record streak, according to John Gamel, a gasoline analyst and director of economic analysis for SpendingPulse. MasterCard’s data goes back to July 2004.
Demand was up 1.4 percent from the previous week. Fuel use over the previous four weeks fell 6.8 percent below the same period in 2011. That’s the 51st consecutive decline in that measure and the biggest drop since February 2010.
The average pump price rose 2 cents to $3.77 a gallon, the highest price since June. The price was 6.8 percent above a year earlier. The largest regional increase was in the Rocky Mountain region, where prices jumped 12 cents last week.
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. (V) is the biggest payments network company by transactions processed.
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