CORRECTED-U.S. gasoline demand down 6.8 pct yr/yr -MasterCard

Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:24pm EDT

NEW YORK, April 17 (Reuters) - U.S. gasoline demand dropped by 6.8 percent from a year ago as high prices and rising fuel efficiency kept pressuring consumption, MasterCard said in its weekly Spending Pulse report on Tuesday.

Consumption was down 5 percent on a four-week moving average basis, the 56th straight weekly decline, according to the report, which covered the week to April 13.

The average U.S. retail price of gasoline dipped 2 cents from a week earlier to $3.92 a gallon on the week, which was up 2.9 percent from a year ago.

Prices on the West Coast continued to outpace other regions, averaging $4.19 a gallon last week, a decline of 3 cents for the week. New England and Central Atlantic prices were the next highest, averaging $4.00 a gallon, an increase of 4 cents for New England and 2 cents for the Central Atlantic region.

MasterCard Advisors, a unit of MasterCard Inc, estimates retail gasoline demand based on aggregate sales in the MasterCard payments system coupled with estimates for other payment forms including cash and checks.