Gasoline climbed to a 33-month high as President Barack Obama announced that the U.S. Justice Department will study the role of traders and speculators in oil markets and how they contribute to high gasoline prices. Crude oil and ethanol advanced. Heating oil slipped.
The administration created a working group to explore whether oil and gasoline prices are being driven higher by illegal manipulation.
“We are going to make sure that no one is taking advantage of American consumers for their own short-term gain,” Obama said in Reno, Nevada.
Gasoline for May delivery rose 3.13 cents, or 1 percent, to $3.3086 a gallon on the Nymex, the highest settlement since July 15, 2008. Gasoline, which gained 0.6 percent this week, has increased 45 percent in a year.
Regular gasoline at the pump, averaged nationwide, increased 0.3 cent to $3.84 a gallon yesterday, AAA said on its website. That was the highest price since Sept. 16, 2008.
Crude oil for June delivery rose 84 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $112.29 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, capping a weekly gain of 2.4 percent. Prices are up 23 percent this year and 34 percent in the past year.
“We have bullish information going into a long weekend,” said Jason Schenker, president of Prestige Economics, an energy advisory firm in Austin, Texas. “The dollar continues to weaken, yesterday’s report was bullish for oil across the board and the overall economic outlook is improving.”
Heating oil for May delivery dropped 2.22 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $3.1992 a gallon on the Nymex, closing the week with a decline of 0.8 percent. Heating oil has gained 45 percent in a year.
Denatured ethanol for May delivery rose 1.7 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $2.586 a gallon on the Chicago Board of Trade, ending the week with a decline of 1.2 percent. Ethanol has increased 63 percent in the past year.