Oil rose 1.5 percent Wednesday, as the U.S. government reported a strong increase in demand for gasoline last week.
Benchmark U.S. crude for December delivery gained $1.43 to close at $94.80 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil is still down about 9 percent since closing at $104.10 on October 2.
The government said gasoline supplies dropped by 3.8 million barrels last week, almost four times the decline analysts were expecting. For the four-week period ended Nov. 1, gasoline demand rose 5.4 percent, to an average of 9.1 million barrels per day. Demand for distillates, which include diesel and heating oil, rose 8.2 percent for the same period.
Those figures overshadowed another increase in U.S. crude stockpiles. Oil supplies rose by 1.6 million barrels.
At the gas station, the average price for a gallon of gas fell another penny to $3.23. That’s down 12 cents from a month ago, and is 23 cents cheaper than at this time last year.
Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell 9 cents to $105.24 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading on Nymex:
- Wholesale gasoline added 3 cents to $2.55 a gallon.
- Heating oil rose 1 cent to $2.87 a gallon.
- Natural gas gained 3 cents to $3.50 per 1,000 cubic feet.