Pump Prices and Demand Riseadmin
Gasoline pump prices rose last week, but so did demand, according to a weekly survey by MasterCard SpendingPulse.
Demand increased 0.9 percent in the week ending April 11, compared with the week before. But looking at the comparable week from last year, demand was flat and remains near the bottom of the expected range.
“It’s not unusual to see these week-to-week increases this time of year,” said study author Michael McNamara in a phone interview. He said the timing of the Easter holiday can influence comparisons. “We think the best number in terms of trends is the four-week moving average, which shows demand down 1 percent from a year ago. That’s been down for nine consecutive weeks.”
The national average retail price for regular gasoline rose 1.5 percent — up 5 cents — to $3.35 a gallon.
McNamara said he will be watching year-over-year demand numbers around the beginning of May. Historically demand has risen significantly then, but with pump prices at record highs, demand could soften.
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.