Mastercard Inc : US Gasoline Use +3% Vs Week Ago At 9.3691 Million B/D -SpendingPulse
05/30/2012| 02:15pm US/Eastern
--Year-on-year demand down for 39th straight week
--Four-week demand hasn't topped year ago since March 2011
--Retail gasoline price falls 4 cents in week; -3.4% versus year ago
By David Bird
U.S. gasoline demand rose 3% from a week earlier to an average of 9.361 million barrels a day in the week ended May 25, the start of the Memorial Day holiday weekend, according to a SpendingPulse report released Wednesday by MasterCard Advisors LLC, a division of MasterCard Inc. (MA).
Release of the data was delayed by a day because of the Monday holiday that is traditionally seen as the start of the peak summer gasoline demand season.
The 271,000-barrels-a-day rise in the latest week put demand at the highest level since Dec. 23.
Demand fell 103,000 barrels a day, or 1.1%, from a year ago in the week. Gasoline demand has lagged the year-ago level for 39 straight weeks.
Four-week demand fell 2.8%, or 261,000 barrels a day, from a year ago, to 9 million barrels a day, and was also the highest since Dec. 23. Four-week gasoline demand hasn't topped the year-ago level since March 18, 2011. The 2.8% year-on-year drop in four-week demand was the slimmest since Oct. 28, 2011.
Gasoline prices dropped 4 cents in the week to $3.69 a gallon, the lowest level since Feb. 24. Prices have dropped 25 cents in the last seven weeks, after having gained 71 cents a gallon in prior 15 weeks. Prices are 3.4% below a year ago.
John Gamel, SpendingPulse gasoline analyst, said year-to-date demand is down 5% from the 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 11 a.m. EDT Thursday, one day later than usual because of the holiday.
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.
-By David Bird, Dow Jones Newswires; 1-212-416-2141; email@example.com