Retail gasoline demand rose sharply last week, by 4.6 percent, buoyed by holiday travel, MasterCard Advisors' SpendingPulse report showed on Tuesday.

Average gasoline demand rose by 425,000 barrels-per-day (bpd) to 9.613 million bpd in the week to December 24.

Demand was 3.9 percent higher than levels seen the same week last year.

Over the latest four weeks, U.S. gasoline consumption was 0.4 percent lower year-over-year.

Average retail gasoline prices went up 2 cents to $3.00 a gallon, 16.3 percent higher than a year ago and the highest level seen since October 2008, according to MasterCard.

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

(Reporting by Selam Gebrekidan; Editing by David Gregorio)