April 10, 2012 / 6:10 PM / 8 years ago

Gasoline demand fell in week to April 6: MasterCard

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. gasoline demand fell 0.8 percent last week from the previous week, as prices rose to just under $4 a gallon, MasterCard said in its weekly Spending Pulse report on Tuesday.

Gasoline drips off a nozzle during refueling at a gas station in Altadena, California March 24, 2012. Picture taken March 24, 2012. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Gasoline demand in the week to April 6 fell 2.4 percent compared with the same week last year, MasterCard said.

A gallon of gasoline cost $3.94 at the pump last week, 2 cents higher than the previous week. This was 5.9 percent more expensive than a year earlier.

The U.S. department of energy projects retail gasoline prices will peak in May at an average $4.01 a gallon.

Government data on Monday showed retail prices declined slightly for the week which ended April 9, for the first time in more than two months. Prices declined to $3.939, from $3.941 in the previous week.

MasterCard data also showed the four-week moving average for demand dropped for the 55th straight week, down 4.7 percent from a year earlier.

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Graphic on four-week average demand: link.reuters.com/mak44s

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

Reporting by Selam Gebrekidan; editing by Carol Bishopric

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