Crude oil holds under $97

Feb. 6, 2013 at 8:14 PM

NEW YORK, Maine, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Crude oil finished Wednesday close to where it started, adding 19 cents to $96.84 per barrel with traders considering mild weather ahead and a supply buildup.

The Energy Information Administration said stockpiles rose by 2.6 million barrels in the week ending Friday. Inventories at 371.7 million barrels are well above the average range for this time of year, but the buildup was less than expected, which supported prices, pulling them back from an early drop below $96 prompted by a stronger dollar.

Mild weather in the forecast is also keeping energy prices in check.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, reformulated blendstock gasoline added 1.98 cents to $3.0512 per gallon. Heating oil lost 0.36 cents to $3.1865 per gallon.

Natural gas added 1.5 cents to $3.433 per million British thermal units.

At the pump, the national average price of unleaded gasoline rose to $3.546 per gallon from Tuesday's $3.533 per gallon, AAA said.

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