Crude oil hits $97

Nov. 8, 2011 at 6:40 PM
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NEW YORK, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Crude oil prices headed higher Tuesday, hitting $97 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil added $1.48 to reach $97, extending a defiant rally that began in early October.

Bellwether crude oil prices have gained $20 per barrel in the past 30 days, despite persistently disappointing economic data and continued confusion in Europe, where heads of state are trying to prop up a weakening euro.

Further confounding the oil market, "Demand for gasoline is down in the United States by 4 percent compared to last year, but global demand has more than made up for that," Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for Oil Price Information Service in New Jersey, told CNNMoney.

Kloza said "blame South America " where demand has increased in 2011.

In New York Tuesday, home heating oil for December delivery added 2.2 cents to $3.122 per gallon. Reformulated blendstock gasoline lost 1.28 cents to $2.7154 per gallon.

With traders expecting cooler weather, Henry Hub natural gas prices added 4.9 cents to $3.745 per million British thermal units.

At the pump, the average price of unleaded gasoline rose to $3.414 per gallon Tuesday from Monday's $3.407, AAA said.

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