Fuel Smarts

Oil Prices Top $115 a Barrel

April 16, 2008

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It's starting to sound like a broken record - crude oil futures hit another new high Wednesday, rising as high as $115.07 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, and ending the day up $1.14 at a record $114.93 a barrel.

One of the reasons was investor nervousness about gasoline supplies, according to published reports. Inventories of gas fell by 5.5 million barrels last week, according to the Energy Information Administration. That was a much larger drop than analysts had expected, reported the Associated Press.

However, the same report showed that demand for gas is shrinking, at a time of year when demand should be rising. That could eventually start affecting investors' actions.

Another factor behind skyrocketing crude oil prices is the falling value of the dollar, which hit a new low against the euro Wednesday. Investors often turn to commodities such as oil when dollar values drop (and also as a hedge against inflation). The weaker dollar also makes oil cheaper to investors in other countries.

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