Oil and Natural Gas Down Slightly; Pump Prices Up


Energy markets were relatively tame Thursday, with both oil and natural gas showing small declines.

Benchmark U.S. crude for April delivery slipped 19 cents to close at $102.40 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Natural gas futures fell 3 cents to $4.51 per 1,000 cubic feet, as weather forecasts indicate households won’t have to raise the thermostats so much in the second half of March.

At the gas pump, the average price for a gallon of gasoline rose a penny, to $3.44. The nationwide average has risen 16 cents in the past month, as refineries undergo seasonal maintenance ahead of the driving season. That reduces supplies and forces pump prices higher. Still, the average price is 35 cents lower that at this time last year, when gas hit its peak price of $3.79 a gallon.

Brent crude, which is used to set prices for international varieties of crude, was down 67 cents to $108.85 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex:

  • Wholesale gasoline lost 4 cents at $2.76 per gallon.
  • Heating oil shed 4 cents to $3.09 per gallon.