NEW YORK (AP) -- Oil extended a weeklong decline as signs of global economic weakness raise concerns about energy demand.
On Tuesday, benchmark U.S. crude lost 93 cents to $97.01 per barrel in New York, after briefly dipping below $96 around midday. Oil has fallen $7.86 per barrel, or 7.5 percent, so far this month.
Election results in France and Greece have called into question Europe's efforts to solve its debt crisis. Data such as last week's disappointing jobs numbers in the U.S. have raised doubts about economic strength outside of Europe.
And Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter, has been increasing production in an effort to rein in high oil prices before they inflict economic damage. Saudi oil ministers want to avoid another global recession and a sharp drop in oil like the one seen at the end of 2008.
Increased Saudi supplies mixed with growing concerns about the world economy should push oil prices lower in coming months, said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research. Lynch expects benchmark crude to drop to $90 per barrel by Labor Day.
Brent crude, which is used to price oil used by many U.S. refineries, lost 43 cents to $112.73 per barrel in London.
Gasoline prices are also falling. The national average has dropped by 17.2 cents per gallon since early April, hitting $3.76 per gallon on Tuesday. A gallon of regular is about 20 cents cheaper than it was at the same time last year, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service.
The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration cut its forecast for gasoline prices in its short term energy outlook. EIA expects regular gasoline to average $3.79 per gallon during the April-through-September summer driving season. That's 16 cents per gallon below the level in EIA's April outlook. EIA thinks gasoline will average $3.71 per gallon this year and $3.67 per gallon in 2013.
In other energy futures trading, heating oil gained less than a penny to $2.99 per gallon and gasoline rose by 2 cents to $2.9944 per gallon. Natural gas lost 5.7 cents to $2.393 per 1,000 cubic feet.
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