The price of oil rose slightly Friday and is on track to finish the week 2 percent higher on signs of rising demand in the U.S., the world’s biggest oil consumer.
Benchmark crude for February delivery rose 34 cents to $94.30 in midday trading in New York. Oil is up 2 percent since closing Monday at $91.80. Brent crude for March delivery was up 86 cents to $106.61 in London.
U.S. oil began the year near $100 a barrel and quickly fell on indications of ample global supplies. It regained some of that ground this week on signals that the U.S. economy is churning again, and burning more diesel, jet fuel, and gasoline.
On Thursday the U.S. Energy Department said oil supplies fell by 7.7 million barrels last week, the seventh straight weekly decline. OPEC said in a report that it expects global demand for oil to increase by around 1 million barrels a day, up from an increase of 900,000 barrels a day in 2013.
The average retail price for a gallon of gasoline in the U.S. fell less than a penny to $3.30 per gallon, according to AAA, OPIS and Wright Express. That’s a penny less than a week ago and a penny more than a year ago.
In other energy futures trading in New York:
— Natural gas fell 7.5 cents to $4.307 per thousand cubic feet.
— Heating oil rose 4.4 cents to $3.029 a gallon.
— Wholesale gasoline rose 3.3 cents to $2.628 per gallon.