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By Samuel R. Avro on Jan 13, 2009 with no responses

As Gas Prices Rise, Consumption Declines by 4.1%

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A report compiled by MasterCard Inc. showed that gasoline consumption in the U.S. declined by 4.1 percent, to the lowest it’s been in two months.

The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline rose to $1.74 a gallon, up 13 cents from the previous week, according to the data provided by MasterCard. Prices are down 44 percent from $3.09 a year earlier.

However, according to the American Automobile Association, the national average stands at $1.79 a gallon for unleaded gasoline.

The Energy Information Administration released a report highlighting the weakening global demand for crude oil.

“The oil price path going forward will be driven mainly by the depth and duration of the global economic downturn, the pace and timing of the recovery, and actual OPEC production,” the report said.

In its monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook, the EIA said that the global economic downturn will lead “to decreases in domestic energy consumption for all major fuels.”

Motorists bought an average 8.961 million barrels of gasoline a day in the week ended Jan. 9, down from 9.342 million a year earlier and the lowest since early November 2008.

The MasterCard figures are based on credit-card swipes and cash and check payments at about 140,000 U.S. gasoline stations.

MasterCard is the second-largest credit-card company behind Visa.

Global oil consumption is projected to decrease by 800,000 barrels per day, while the price of crude is expected to average $43 a barrel this year, according to the Energy Information Administration.