November 27, 2007 / 7:05 PM / 11 years ago

Gasoline prices dent US holiday demand -MasterCard

NEW YORK, Nov 27 (Reuters) - U.S. retail gasoline demand rose only slightly last week as soaring pump prices dampened the normal surge in Thanksgiving holiday road travel, MasterCard Advisors said on Tuesday.

Motorists pumped 9.317 million barrels of gasoline per day on average in the week ended Nov. 23, up 0.2 percent from the previous week, according to the weekly SpendingPulse report.

“This is less of an increase than you’d typically see on the Thanksgiving holiday,” said Michael McNamara, vice president of MasterCard Advisors. “Drivers appear to be reacting to pump prices that are nearly 40 percent higher than a year ago.”

The U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, typically one of the busiest travel holidays of the year, fell on Nov. 22.

The rate of retail gasoline buying was 1.7 percent lower than last year’s level, while the four-week moving average of 9.319 million bpd was down 1.6 percent from a year ago.

U.S. retail gasoline prices slipped last week by 1 cent to $3.09 a gallon but remained about 85 cents higher than last year, according to the report.

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).

The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its report on nationwide fuel inventories Wednesday morning and energy analysts are anticipating the report will show a small increase in gasoline stockpiles. [EIA/S] (Reporting by Richard Valdmanis, editing by Matthew Lewis)

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