After a run toward $100 per barrel Monday, West Texas Intermediate crude oil for October delivery dropped to $95.47 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Prices changed direction when the Obama administration said it would file a complaint with the World Trade Organization charging China with unfairly subsidizing its auto industry.
Fearing a trade war would escalate, traders pulled back from the rally that began last week with the Federal Reserve announcement that it would jump back into the bond market. A sober assessment of the global economy after the Fed announcement showed the market could not support $100 per barrel just yet.
Natural gas added 0.4 cents early to $2.869 per million British thermal unit. Home heating oil gained 1.24 cents to $3.1395 per gallon. Reformulated blendstock gasoline added 2.1 cents to $2.92 per gallon.
At the pump, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $3.859 per gallon, down from Monday's $3.862, AAA reported.