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U.S. Gasoline Demand Slips to 3-month Low

U.S. retail gasoline demand slipped to a three-month low last week as travel continued to slow with the end of the summer vacation season, MasterCard Advisors said on Tuesday.

Motorists pumped 9.542 million barrels of gasoline per day on average in the week ended Sept. 14, down 1.1% from the previous week, according to the weekly SpendingPulse report.

"It has been four consecutive weeks now that retail demand for gasoline has slipped," said Michael McNamara, vice president of MasterCard Advisors. "It has been coming off the summer peak steadily."

The rate of gasoline demand was the lowest since the week ended June 8, just after retail gasoline prices spiked to a record above $3.20 a gallon.

Last week's retail gasoline demand, however, was still 4.0% higher than a year ago, while the four-week moving average was also up 4.0% at 9.699 million bpd, the report showed.

MasterCard Advisors estimates retail gasoline demand based on aggregate sales activity in the MasterCard payments system coupled with estimates for all other payment forms. MasterCard Advisors is a unit of MasterCard U.S. retail gasoline prices, meanwhile, eased 1 cent to $2.80 a gallon on average, according to the report.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its report on nationwide fuel inventories on Wednesday morning.