U.S. Markets closed

Oil rebounds to near $97; pump prices still rising

The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Oil regained some of its loss from the day earlier, while pump prices are now up nearly a quarter since Jan. 1.

Benchmark oil for March delivery rose 67 cents to $96.84 a barrel in midday trading Tuesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil dropped by $1.60 to finish at $96.17 a barrel on Monday.

Data published Tuesday showing rising activity in the manufacturing and services sectors in the 17 European Union countries using the euro supported oil prices. A U.S. report also showed the services sector continues to expand.

Recovering stock markets also buoyed oil. Most European markets rose, and U.S. stock markets are showing gains of close to 1 percent.

Pulling into the corner gas station cost more again Tuesday. The average price for a gallon of gas rose a penny overnight to $3.53. The price has jumped 17 cents in the past week and 24 cents since the first day of the year.

On Monday, the Energy Department reported that U.S. drivers spent 4 percent of their pretax income on gasoline last year, the second highest percentage in thirty years.

Brent crude, the benchmark used to set prices for oil used by many U.S. refineries, was up $1.37 to $116.97 in London.

In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:

— Wholesale gasoline added 3 cents to $3.05 per gallon.

— Natural gas rose 3 cents to $3.35 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil gained 5 cents to $3.20 a gallon.


Pamela Sampson in Bangkok and Pablo Gorondi in Budapest contributed to this report.