Gas Pump Demand Up Compared with Year-Ago Storm Impact

Gas Pump Demand Up Compared with Year-Ago Storm Impact

A survey of gasoline retailers by MasterCard SpendingPulse for the week ending March 21 found demand at the pump increased 1.2 percent, to 65.1 million barrels, from 64.3 million barrels in the previous week. Compared with last year, demand increased 5.3 percent.

Study author Michael McNamara said the year-over-year comparison is higher than the norm because of severe winter weather last year in New England and the mid-Atlantic, which depressed demand.

“That storm really impacted pumping last year,” said McNamara in a telephone interview. “Pumping last year went from an uptick of 64.8 million gallons to 61.7 million gallons.”

The survey showed the average national retail price for regular gasoline rose 2 cents a gallon last week. At $3.28 per gallon, the average price is up 27.6 percent over the comparable week a year ago, and is the sixth consecutive weekly average price increase.

“So far the average price in March is up 13 cents a gallon,” said McNamara. “Last year the March increase was 23 cents. There was more of a dynamic because of refining problems at that time.”

SpendingPulse is a macroeconomic indicator of national retail sales based on aggregate sales activity in the MasterCard payments network, together with estimates for all other payment forms, including cash and check. MasterCard SpendingPulse does not represent MasterCard financial performance.

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