Another weekly gasoline gauge

MasterCard will be launching a new weekly report on U.S. gasoline demand today based on purchases made at gas stations using its credit cards.
MasterCard Advisors, LLC, the professional services arm of MasterCard Worldwide, will introduce the Spending Pulse U.S. Gasoline Demand Report each Tuesday.

OK, so prices aren’t quite this bad right now. AP photo from May.

As the release from the Purchase, N.Y. company puts it:

The report is based on aggregate payment volume over the MasterCard payments network coupled with estimates of total purchases across other payment forms including cash and check.
The Spending Pulse U.S. Gasoline Demand Report captures multiple data points that produce total estimates of both the total number of barrels the U.S. pumps each week as well as average price per gallon data across the country. The report provides a more comprehensive view of gasoline consumption and consumer behavior than traditional gas consumption surveys that focus on the supply side of the story.
A macro-economic indicator, SpendingPulse reports on national retail sales and is based on aggregate sales activity in the MasterCard payments network, coupled with estimates for all other payment forms, including cash and check.

It will be interesting to see what this data tells us that sources like the Department of Energy and Oil Price Information Service, which does the weekly and daily AAA gasoline report, do not. The folks at Pickering Energy Partners had this to say before the release:

We are skeptical that they will have better accuracy than DOE weekly data …but market is hungry for further assessment of US demand patterns. For everything else there is Mastercard.