Crude oil hits $88

Dec. 18, 2012 at 7:39 PM

NEW YORK, Dec. 18 (UPI) -- Crude oil prices hit $88 per barrel in New York Tuesday as the dollar index fell 0.29 percent.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil for January delivery added 80 cents to $88 per barrel, with traders focused on budget talks in Washington.

A new budget in place before Jan. 1 would avert the so-called "fiscal cliff," a combination of spending cuts and tax hikes that economist say would push the U.S. economy back into a recession.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, home heating oil for January added 5.41 cents to $3.0004 a gallon. Reformulated blendstock gasoline gained 3.83 cents to $2.6929 a gallon.

Natural gas prices added 4.3 cents to $3.394 per million British thermal units.

At the pump, AAA reported a national average price for regular unleaded gasoline at $3.236 per gallon, down from Monday's $3.248.

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