Gasoline Rises as Growing Tensions Over Ukraine Boost Oil

Gasoline futures rose as growing tensions over violence in Ukraine and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Crimea boosted crude.

Futures gained as much as 1.1 percent. Putin visited the Crimea region he annexed in March as Ukraine said about 20 pro-Russian separatists died in clashes in the eastern port city of Mariupol. The European Union considering imposing more sanctions on Russia.

“Putin’s visit to Crimea makes the oil market question his resolve to reduce tensions in Ukraine and it appears to be a snub to the European Union,” said Andy Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates LLC in Houston.

June-delivery gasoline rose 0.66 cent to $2.9116 a gallon at 10:19 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Volume was 35 percent above the 100-day average.

Futures headed for a second consecutive weekly loss as U.S. inventories of the motor fuel rose a second straight week. Gasoline supplies increased 1.61 million barrels to 213.2 million, the largest build since the week ended Jan. 17, according to Energy Information Administration data. Production jumped 4.3 percent.

“With the return of refiners from maintenance season I expect gasoline production to increase, which will pressure gasoline prices,” Lipow said.

Gasoline’s crack spread versus WTI crude narrowed 29 cents to $21.46 a barrel. The motor fuel’s premium to Brent crude slipped 5 cents to $13.92.

Pump Price

The average U.S. pump price fell 0.2 cent to $3.663 a gallon, the 11th consecutive decline, according to data from Heathrow, Florida-based AAA today. Prices are 11.4 cents higher than a year ago.

Ultra low sulfur diesel for June delivery advanced 0.57 cent to $2.9259 a gallon on volume that was 18 percent below the 100-day average.

Diesel’s crack spread versus WTI crude narrowed 33 cents to $22.06 a barrel. The motor fuel’s premium to Brent crude declined 13 cents to $14.48.

To contact the reporter on this story: Barbara Powell in Houston at bpowell4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net David Marino, Charlotte Porter

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