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Income levels reflected in gas consumption

Aug. 14, 2012 at 7:31 AM

WASHINGTON, Aug. 14 (UPI) -- Disposable income levels for U.S. consumers slowed in 2012, which was reflected in gasoline consumption rates, the U.S. Energy Department said.

The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration reports gasoline consumption was lower during the first three months of 2012, though slight growth was seen in the following months.

The EIA said lower gasoline consumption rates was in part a reflection of the 0.1 percent growth rate in Real Personal Disposable Income during the first quarter, followed by a 1.3 percent increase during the second quarter of the year.

Retail gasoline consumption in the country was down 124,000 barrels per day during the first quarter of 2012, compared with the same time last year, to 8.5 million bpd. The EIA attributed some of the slow down to more fuel efficient vehicles, however.

The EIA reported the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline reached $3.72 during for the second full week of August, up from the $3.50 average reported at the end of July. August figures were up 11 cents compared with the same time last year.

An oil leak from a pipeline network in Wisconsin, coupled with refinery closures in the U.S. Midwest and California, caused retail gasoline prices to increase.

Motor group AAA reports drivers in Wisconsin paid on average $3.90 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline while California drivers paid about $4.09.

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