(MasterCard corrects McNamara comments in paragraph 4 to show that this week is the first time on MasterCard record that year-over-year demand fell by more than 7 percent, not 6 percent, for two consecutive weeks)
NEW YORK, Oct 15 (Reuters) - U.S. retail gasoline demand fell by more than 9 percent year-on-year for the second week in a row as consumer spending slowed, MasterCard Advisors said on Wednesday.
“There has clearly been a slowdown for the last couple of weeks that has coincided with a slowdown in retail sales and consumer activity in general,” said Michael McNamara, vice president of research and analysis at MasterCard Advisors.
Average national demand for gasoline dropped 9.7 percent compared with the same period last year, MasterCard said in its weekly SpendingPulse report.
“This is the first time that we’ve had two consecutive weeks of pumping, in terms of year-over-year comparison, that were below 7 percent,” McNamara said.
The four-week moving average for gasoline demand dropped 7.9 percent, the report showed. Year to date, gasoline demand is down 3.1 percent from the same period last year.
However, on a week-to-week basis, gasoline demand snapped back, in part due to weather-related consumption patterns, McNamara said.
Gasoline consumption patterns coming back to normal along the eastern seaboard and in the south after Hurricane Ike played a role in the week-to-week increase in gasoline demand, he said.
American motorists pumped an average of 8.762 million barrels per day in the week that ended Oct. 10, up 1.6 percent from the previous week, the report said.
Meanwhile, the national average price for gasoline dipped 10 cents to $3.61 per gallon.
A Reuters poll showed energy analysts believe that the Energy Information Administration will report a build in U.S. gasoline inventories for the third week in a row as refinery utilization rates increase. [EIA/S]
MasterCard Advisors estimates retail gasoline demand based on aggregate sales activity in the MasterCard payments system coupled with estimates for all other payment forms. MasterCard Advisors is a unit of MasterCard Inc (MA.N). (Reporting by Rebekah Kebede; editing by Jim Marshall)