NEW YORK, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Crude oil prices moved closer to $99 per barrel Thursday as investors responded to a U.S. Federal Reserve monetary policy shift.
The Fed said it will cut back on its quantitative easing program, dropping asset purchases from $85 billion per month to $75 billion. Stocks moved sharply higher after the Wednesday afternoon announcement.
The Fed's move was potentially the sign of a new era, as it was a tangible vote of confidence in the economic recovery after six years of economic policy at the central bank being geared towards greater support, rather than less support.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange Thursday, West Texas Intermediate crude added 97 cents to reach $98.77 per barrel.
Reformulated gasoline blendstock for January added 4.42 cents to $2.7415 a gallon.
January heating oil added 4.42 cents to settle at $3.03 a gallon, while natural gas gained 19 cents to $4.44 per million British thermal units.
The national average price of unleaded regular gasoline at the pump dropped to $3.212 a gallon from Wednesday's $3.216 a gallon, the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report said.