Crude oil jumps 1.5% to US$94.80 a barrel on strong gasoline demand

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Oil rose 1.5 per cent Wednesday as the U.S. government reported a strong increase in demand for gasoline last week.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude for December delivery gained $1.43 to close at US$94.80 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. However, oil was still down about nine per cent since closing at US$104.10 on Oct 2.

The government said gasoline supplies dropped by 3.8 million barrels last week, almost four times the decline analysts were expecting.

For the four-week period ended Nov. 1, gasoline demand rose 5.4 per cent to an average of 9.1 million barrels per day. Demand for distillates, which includes diesel and heating oil, rose 8.2 per cent for the same period.

Those figures overshadowed another increase in U.S. crude stockpiles. Oil supplies rose by 1.6 million barrels.

Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell nine cents to US$105.24 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.

In other energy futures trading on Nymex, wholesale gasoline added three cents to US$2.55 a U.S. gallon (3.79 litres), heating oil rose one cent to US$2.87 a gallon and natural gas gained three cents to US$3.50 per 1,000 cubic feet.