The price of oil rose Monday as another cold spell for the Midwest and Northeast was expected to boost demand for heating oil at a time when many refineries are undergoing seasonal maintenance.
Benchmark U.S. crude for April delivery gained 62 cents to $102.82 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Natural gas futures were volatile, at one point nearing $6.50 per 1,000 cubic feet before dropping. Natural gas finished down 69 cents, or 11 percent, to $5.45. Although cold weather has returned to many areas after a brief warm spell, some forecasts suggest warmer weather by the end of next week. Profit-taking may have also pushed prices lower, traders said.
At the gas pump, the average price for a gallon of gasoline rose a penny to $3.42, the highest since Sept. 27. Gasoline prices have risen 14 cents this month, but are still 36 cents cheaper than at this time last year.
Brent crude, which is used to set prices for international varieties of crude, rose 79 cents to $110.64 on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
In other trading on the Nymex:
- Wholesale gasoline was flat at $2.83 per gallon.
- Heating oil fell 1 cent to $3.09 a gallon.