NEW YORK, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- The price of crude oil held above $97 per barrel overnight in New York, dropping slightly on the prospects of softer demand.
NYMEX West Texas Intermediate crude oil for March delivery is near a four-month high, but prices dropped after the Commerce Department said the U.S. economy contracted by 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Retail prices for gasoline rose sharply for the second consecutive day. In a two-day surge, the national average price at gas pumps has jumped 5.9 cents to $3.423 per gallon, AAA said.
Prices at the pump have risen 10.2 cents in the past week.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, crude oil gave up 50 cents to $97.46 per barrel. Reformulated blendstock gasoline added 1.13 cents to $3.0315 a gallon. Home heating oil gained 0.4 cents to $3.1165 a gallon.
Natural gas shed 0.3 cent to $3.33 per million British thermal units.