Fuel Smarts

Crude Oil Prices Hit Record Again

April 15, 2008

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The price of crude oil set new records again Tuesday,

Light, sweet crude for May delivery rose as high as $113.93 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange before closing at $113.58, up $1.82 from Monday's record of $111.76 a barrel.

According to the Associated Press, traders were worried about a report by the International Energy Agency that said Russian oil production dropped this year for the first time in a decade. The world's biggest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia, Russia's first quarter oil production was down 1 percent from 2007, the first time it has not exceeded previous-year figures since 1998.

The falling dollar was again a factor. One energy analyst said buying crude oil when the dollar falls has become a conditioned response, a reflex.

Rising oil and fuel prices are also causing inflation fears. A gauge of prices paid by American producers jumped 1.1 percent in March, the Labor Department said on Tuesday, up from a 0.3 percent increase in February -- twice what economists had expected.

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