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Oil slips slightly Friday

Dec. 28, 2012 at 6:40 PM

NEW YORK, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- Crude oil prices dropped under $91 per barrel Friday in New York as lawmakers gathered in Washington in an effort to avert the "fiscal cliff."

Oil price influences were mixed. The possibility of a budget agreement in place before the new year exerted some upward pressure, but equity markets fell for the fifth consecutive session Friday dousing enthusiasm to push oil prices up.

The American Petroleum Institute said U.S. inventories have fallen to the lowest level in nine weeks, providing some support to prices, already propped up by heavy snow in the Northeast.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude oil for February delivery shed 25 cents to $90.62 per barrel. Home heating oil for February added 2 cents in late trading to $3.0413 a gallon. Reformulated blendstock gasoline added 0.55 cents to $2.764 a gallon.

Natural gas prices lost 0.12 cents to $3.457 per million British thermal units.

At the pump, AAA reported the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline hit $3.279 per gallon, up from Thursday's $3.261.

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