NEW YORK, March 20 (Reuters) - U.S. average gasoline demand rose last week, compared with the previous week, as families took advantage of the warm weather and spring break during which many schools were closed, MasterCard said in its weekly Spending Pulse report.
Demand in the week to March 16 rose 3.4 percent, the SpendingPulse report showed.
Last week's gasoline consumption, however, was 5.6 percent lower than a year earlier as prices were up 7.9 percent over levels seen in the same period last year.
A gallon of gasoline went for $3.84 last week, 7.00 cents higher than the week before, MasterCard said.
"The year-over-year declines are still steep since we are at a lower starting point this year," said MasterCard analyst John Gamel.
The four-week moving average for demand dropped for the 52nd straight week, down 6.6 percent compared with last year, MasterCard data showed.
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.