UPDATE 1-U.S. gasoline demand down 6.8 pct yr/yr -MasterCard

Tue Apr 17, 2012 3:39pm EDT

* Gasoline demand down 1.3 pct week/week -MasterCard

* Avg US retail gas price dips 2 cents to $3.92

* U.S. gasoline demand

NEW YORK, April 17 (Reuters) - U.S. gasoline demand in the latest week dropped 6.8 percent from a year ago as high prices and rising fuel efficiency pressured consumption, MasterCard said in its weekly Spending Pulse report on Tue sday.

Demand for the week to April 13 dipped 1.3 percent compared with the previous week, according to the report. Consumption was down 5 percent on a four-week moving average basis, the 56th straight weekly decline.

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.

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