NEW YORK, Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Crude oil prices closed lower Wednesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange as traders considered an eighth straight week of declining U.S. crude inventories.
Crude oil fell 8 cents to $96.25 a barrel on the exchange after rallying to an intraday high of $97.97 and dropping to an intraday low of $95.45.
The U.S. government reported crude inventories dropped by 6.8 million barrels in the week ending Jan. 4. Supplies of gasoline and heating oil rose in the same period.
"For crude oil this appears to be another bullish report," James Williams, an economist at energy research firm WTRG Economics, told MarketWatch. "However, the product numbers were bearish for gasoline and distillates."
Gasoline fell 2.59 cents to $2.4480 a gallon and heating oil slid 0.63 cents to $2.63 a gallon.
Natural gas rose 10.4 cents to $8.071 per million British thermal units.
At the pump, the average cost for a gallon of unleaded gasoline was $3.104 Wednesday, down slightly from Tuesday's $3.105, the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report said.