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Gasoline prices rise, demand drops: MasterCard

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. gasoline demand fell once again last week, down 0.8 percent from the previous week, as prices rose to just under $4 a gallon, MasterCard said in its weekly Spending Pulse report on Tuesday.

Gasoline demand in the week to April 6 fell 2.4 percent compared with the same week last year, MasterCard said.

A gallon of gasoline cost $3.94 at the pump last week , 2 cents higher than the previous week. This was 5.9 percent more expensive than a year earlier.

The U.S. department of energy projects retail gasoline prices will peak in May at an average $4.01 a gallon.

MasterCard data also showed the four-week moving average for demand dropped for the 55th straight week, down 4.7 percent from a year earlier.

MasterCard Advisors, a unit of MasterCard Inc, estimates retail gasoline demand based on aggregate sales in the MasterCard payments system coupled with estimates for other payment forms including cash and checks.

(This story corrects to drop reference to Easter and Passover weekend in the second paragraph)

(Reporting by Selam Gebrekidan)

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