The price of oil rose above $97 per barrel Thursday, reversing Wednesday's small drop.
In New York, crude rose 30 cents to finish at US$97.31 per barrel. Brent crude, which is used to price oil that many US refineries buy to make gasolene, rose 12 cents to end at US$118 per barrel in London.
Crude rose sharply in early January, then began to waver between US$95 and US$98 per barrel, where it has stayed for the past month.
Oil prices rose despite data showing continuing weakness in the European economy.
The Eurozone economy shrank by 0.6 per cent in the final quarter of 2012 from the previous three-month period, more than the 0.4 per cent drop expected by markets, according to Eurostat, the EU statistics office. Germany, Europe's largest economy, shrank by 0.6 per cent for the period.
There is some disagreement on just how much the oil the world economy needs.
On Wednesday, the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) lowered its consumption forecast by 85,000 barrels a day compared with data from a month ago. On Tuesday, OPEC raised its 2013 forecast for global demand, citing signs of recovery in the global economy.
The IEA expects the world to use 90.7 million barrels of crude oil a day this year. That is one million barrels a day more than OPEC's estimate of 89.7 million barrels a day.
In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:
Wholesale gasolene rose 8 cents to end at US$3.12 a gallon.
Heating oil up about half a cent to finish at US$3.22 a gallon.