Oil prices fall on growing US supply
Oil prices dropped Wednesday after the government said US supplies grew more than expected last week.
Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude fell $1.53 to finish at $102.67 per barrel in New York, while Brent crude lost 81 cents to end at $117.97 per barrel in London.
The Energy Information Administration reported that US crude oil supplies grew by 3.9 million barrels last week. Analysts expected an increase of 400,000 barrels. The government's weekly report also said that US oil demand dropped 2.7 per cent, gasolene demand fell 2.8 per cent, compared with a year ago.
The data suggest that motorists aren't filling up as much ahead of the summer driving season.
"You continue to see some pretty anaemic fuel demand levels" in the US, said Gene McGillian, a broker and oil analyst at Tradition Energy.
US retail gasolene prices dipped slightly to a national average of $3.899 per gallon, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. The national average has declined by 2.6 cents this month, and it's now just barely under $3.90 for the first time since March.
Experts say that gasolene prices have levelled off this month, but they're likely to rise to around $4 per gallon during the next few weeks as more refiners switch to producing summer blends of fuel.
In other energy trading, heating oil gave up less than a penny to finish at $3.1182 per gallon and gasolene futures lost 3.13 cents to end at $3.2027 per gallon. Natural gas futures were unchanged at $1.9510 per 1,000 cubic feet.