Oil price falls as crude supply rises; gas prices jump again

Oil prices fell Wednesday as U.S. supplies of crude rose for the first time in a month and finance ministers from industrialized nations pleaded with top producers to help lower crude prices and help the global economy.

Traders also watched for any reports of significant damage from Hurricane Isaac as it passed over oil facilities in the Gulf of Mexico. Nearly 95 percent of Gulf production was halted because of the storm.

Benchmark oil fell 84 cents to finish at $95.49 per barrel in New York. Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil, fell 4 cents to $112.54 per barrel in London.

The government reported that the nation’s crude inventories increased by 3.8 million barrels to 364.5 million barrels last week. Analysts had expected a drop of 2 million barrels, according to Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Isaac pushed inland after battering the Gulf Coast, but it could be days before the extent of any damage to oil production facilities and coastal refineries is known.

There is one obvious impact from Isaac: higher gas prices. The national average retail price for gasoline rose nearly 5 cents to $3.804 per gallon on Wednesday, according to AAA, Wright Express and the Oil Price Information Service. That’s the biggest one-day jump in about 18 months. The price is up about 9 cents from a week ago and 19 cents from a year ago.


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