Crude oil prices hit a new record over $144 a barrel during trading on the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday before closing at $143.57.
That's a full $2.60 above the previous closing record set Tuesday.
According to published reports, the spike was triggered by a government report that crude oil supplies feel more than expected last week. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported crude oil supplies fell by 2 million barrels -- about 800,000 more than analysts predicted.
Another factor is continuing talk about possible attacks on Iran, the world's fourth-largest oil producer and OPEC's second-largest exporter.
The new record trading price means the price of a barrel of crude has risen by about 50 percent since the end of last year, when prices were about $96 a barrel.