Money Matters - Simplified

Crude oil prices top $79

New York -- Crude oil prices climbed above $79 per barrel in New York Thursday, after a report said U.S. inventories demand was up compared with a year ago.

The Energy Information Administration said gasoline, distillate fuel and jet fuel rose in the week ending July 19.

Using the four-week rolling average, demand for gasoline was up 2 percent, while demand for distillate fuel, which includes heating oil, was up 9 percent. EIA said jet fuel demand, which has been tracking lower than last year, was up 10.9 percent for the four-week period.

Crude oil prices for September delivery, the new front-end contract, peaked at $79.30 before sliding back to $79.13 per barrel. The price of front contract New York Harbor No. 2 heating oil tailed off in late trading, down 0.0034 cents to $2.0586 per gallon. Reformulated blendstock gasoline prices slipped late, losing 0.0042 cents to $2.1424 per gallon.

Henry Hub natural gas prices added 0.013 cents to $4.656 per gallon.

At the retail level, the national average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline was unchanged Thursday at $2.718 per gallon, AAA said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International

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