The U.S. Commerce Department said the trade gap dropped from $47 billion in January to $45.8 billion in February. The decrease was helped along by a half-billion dollars less spent with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. The shrinkage from $9.9 billion to $9.4 billion points to waning demand just prior to a traditional spring increase in driving.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil shed $4.05 from Monday's $109.92 to $105.87 per barrel, a drop of 3.6 percent. Home heating oil prices added 0.87 cents from a recent settlement to $3.1813 per gallon. Reformulated blendstock gasoline prices gained 0.84 cents to $3.1725 per gallon.
Henry Hub natural gas prices shed 0.5 cents to $4.093 per million British thermal units.
At the pump, the national average price of unleaded gasoline rose to $3.791 per gallon Tuesday from Monday's $3.77, AAA said.