U.S. gasoline consumption declined 2.5 percent last week, compared to the same time frame in 2010, with motorist buying only (?) 8.79 million barrels a day during the week ending October 7, according to data collected by MasterCard. That's down from 9.01 million barrels a day back in October of 2010 and a bit below the 8.82-million-barrel mark set in late September.

Using an average of the last four weeks, demand for gas was down 2.3 percent, compared to the same period in 2010. In fact, the first week of October marked the 29th consecutive week that demand for gas was lower for that particular four-week moving average in 2011 than it was in 2010 in the U.S.

Demand for gas peaked this year at 9.56 million barrels a day during the week ending July 1 as motorists fueled up before Fourth of July weekend. This year's lowest level of consumption occurred during the week ending February 11 when vehicles slurped down just 8.47 million barrels a day. Mastercard's data is based on credit-card swipes at approximately 140,000 U.S. gasoline stations.

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