By JOHN M. BIERS
US gasoline consumption rose by 4.5% to 8.95 million bpd for the week ending Dec. 21 compared with the prior week, according to a SpendingPulse report released Wednesday by MasterCard.
The increase came as gasoline prices sank 15 cents/gal over the Dec. 7-21 period. Gasoline prices are now at their lowest level in a year and are flat compared with last year's level, said John Gamel, gasoline analyst for MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse.
Gasoline consumption has declined compared with the same period of 2011. SpendingPulse said year-on-year gasoline consumption was down 5.4% for the week ending Dec. 21 to 8.950 million bpd.
"For the two-week period ending Friday, December 21st, we observed, over these past two weeks, a continuation of the year-long year-over-year declines," Mr. Gamel said.
Mr. Gamel said year-over-year comparisons may be skewed because this year's Christmas holiday driving may have been pushed into the prior weekend due to the Tuesday holiday and would show up in a subsequent report.
SpendingPulse is a macroeconomic indicator that reports on national retail sales and is based on aggregate sales activity in the MasterCard payments network, coupled with estimates for all other payment forms, including cash and check. SpendingPulse from MasterCard doesn't represent MasterCard financial performance.
Dow Jones Newswires