Mastercard Inc : U.S. Gasoline Use Down 3.7% vs Week Ago at 9.013 Million B/D - SpendingPulse
06/05/2012| 02:15pm US/Eastern
--Year-on-year demand down for 40th straight week
--Four-week demand hasn't topped year ago since March 2011
--Retail gasoline price down 6 cents in week; down 4.2% vs year ago
By David Bird
NEW YORK--U.S. gasoline demand fell 3.7% from a week earlier to an average of 9.013 million barrels a day in the week ended June 1, which included the bulk of the Memorial Day holiday weekend, according to a SpendingPulse report released Tuesday by MasterCard Advisors LLC, a division of MasterCard Inc. (MA).
The 348,000-barrels-a-day drop from the previous week was the biggest decline since Dec. 30. In the previous week, heading into the holiday weekend that kicks off the peak summer driving season, gasoline use rose to its highest level since Dec. 23.
John Gamel, SpendingPulse gasoline analyst, said demand over the holiday weekend, from May 25 to May 28, was down 1.7% from a holiday weekend in 2011.
Demand in the latest week was down 181,000 barrels a day, or 2%, from a year earlier. Gasoline use has lagged the year-ago level for 40 straight weeks.
Four-week demand fell 1.9%, or 175,000 barrels a day, from a year ago to 9.11 million barrels a day, the most since last Aug. 26.
Four-week gasoline use hasn't topped the year-ago level since March 18, 2011. The 1.9% decline was the smallest since a similar drop in the four weeks ended Sept. 16, 2011.
Gasoline prices dropped 6 cents in the week to $3.63 a gallon, the lowest level since Feb. 24. Prices have dropped 31 cents in the last eight weeks, after having gained 71 cents a gallon in prior 15 weeks. Prices are 4.2% below a year ago.
Gamel said year-to-date gasoline demand is down 4.8% from same period in 2011.
SpendingPulse is a macroeconomic indicator that reports on national retail sales and is based on aggregate sales activity in the MasterCard payments network, coupled with estimates for all other payment forms, including cash and check. SpendingPulse from MasterCard doesn't represent MasterCard financial performance.
The Department of Energy is scheduled to release its weekly petroleum data, including gasoline demand, at 10:30 a.m. EDT Wednesday.
The data, put out by the DOE's Energy Information Administration statistics and analysis unit, doesn't count how many gallons are sold. Instead, it offers a "product supplied," or implied demand figure, in its weekly report. Product supplied represents the total volume of gasoline that has moved on from refineries, pipelines, blending plants and terminals on its way to supplying retail stations.
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