Oil prices rose Monday as political leaders were trying to finalise a deal to avert the 'fiscal cliff' hours before the deadline.
The US had until midnight New Year's Eve to avert a tax increase for everyone and spending cuts that would have hit defence spending.
Benchmark US crude rose US$1.02 to finish at US$91.82 per barrel in New York. Oil has wavered in recent weeks along with the ups and downs of the budget negotiations.
The price of oil finished December up about three per cent from the start of the month. It ranged from a low near US$77 a barrel to high around US$110 a barrel during the year.
Brent crude, used to price international varieties of oil, rose 49 cents to end at US$111.11 a barrel in London.
In other energy futures trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange: natural gas fell 12 cents, or 3.4 percent, to finish at US$3.35 per 1,000 cubic feet; wholesale gasolene rose one cent to US$2.81 a gallon; heating oil was flat at US$3.05 a gallon.