U.S. gasoline demand fell 0.5 percent last week to a five-week low even as prices at the pump declined further, according to MasterCard Inc. (MA:US)
Drivers bought 8.97 million barrels a day of gasoline in the week ended June 8, down from 9.01 million the week before, MasterCard’s SpendingPulse report showed.
The average pump price declined 5 cents in the past week to $3.58 a gallon, the lowest level since Feb. 17. Prices are 4.5 percent below a year earlier.
The highest prices were on the West Coast, where the average fell 7 cents to $4.13 a gallon. The lowest prices were on the Gulf Coast, where a gallon declined 5 cents to $3.37.
Fuel consumption was 3.5 percent below the year-earlier level, the 41st straight drop in that measure. Year-to-date gasoline demand is 4.8 percent below 2011.
“This past week was the third in a row of increasing year- over-year declines, even while prices at the pump continued to fall and have fallen over 35 cents since peaking at $3.94 for the week ending April 6,” John Gamel, a gasoline analyst and director of economic analysis for SpendingPulse, said in the report.
Fuel use over the previous four weeks fell 1.9 percent below the same period in 2011, a record 64th consecutive drop 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. (V:US) is the biggest payments network company by transactions processed.
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