Gasoline Demand Falls as Price Climbs

Gasoline Demand Falls as Price Climbs

A survey by MasterCard SpendingPulse finds gasoline demand at the pump last week fell 6.8 percent compared with the same week last year.

Study author Michael McNamara said in a phone interview the seasonal lift in gasoline demand that normally happens around this time of year continues to be stalled, possibly due to record high gasoline prices and a sluggish U.S. economy.

The average retail price for a gallon of regular gasoline is up 70 cents since the beginning of the year.

McNamara said gasoline purchases account for about 15 percent of total retail spending so far this year compared with 11.3 percent in 2003. “In dollar terms, through April, consumers spent $158 billion on gas,” he said. “That compares with $88 billion in 2003.”

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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