U.S. gasoline demand flat in latest week

By Reuters
Posted March 29 at 3:28 p.m.

U.S retail gasoline demand was flat last week but fell from year-earlier levels as higher prices pressured demand while an improved employment outlook provided support, MasterCard Advisors’ SpendingPulse report showed Tuesday.

Average gasoline demand fell 0.2 percent year-over-year, its fourth consecutive slip, MasterCard said. Demand was seen at 9.3 million barrels per day.

“The smaller pickup in demand compared to last year is worth noting as prices remain in record territory,” said John Gamel, director of economic analysis for MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse in a note.

Retail gasoline prices were also flat, at $3.56 a gallon, for the first time since the start of February. Still, prices are 26.7 percent higher than a year earlier, driven by the volatile oil markets and the ongoing crisis in the Middle East, according to MasterCard.

Over the latest four weeks, U.S. gasoline consumption fell 0.7 percent year-on-year.

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

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