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Oil rose for the second time this week, following heating oil, after the American Petroleum Institute reported that fuel consumption increased in April as economic growth bolstered demand for diesel by truckers.
Oil erased earlier losses as API reported total deliveries of petroleum products, a measure of demand, climbed 5.2 percent last month from a year before. Heating oil, a distillate fuel like diesel and jet fuel, jumped as much as 1.6 percent on the Nymex. Refineries such as Valero Energy Corp.’s St. Charles refinery in Norco, Louisiana, are restarting after planned work, according to Bloomberg report.
“You’re going to have to see some strength in the crude market because you’re starting to see more refineries come back online,” said Carl Larry, director of energy derivatives and research at Blue Ocean Brokerage LLC in New York. “Demand will probably be a little stronger than we expect.”
Crude oil for June delivery gained 74 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $99.18 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices have fallen 0.5 percent this week and risen 46 percent in the past year. The June contract expires at the close of Nymex floor trading today. The more active July crude gained 68 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $99.61 a barrel.
Brent crude for July settlement rose 88 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $112.30 a barrel on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange.
Fuel consumption increased to 19.9 million barrels a day last month from a year earlier, the industry-funded API reported Friday. The American Automobile Association said Thursday that U.S. air travel will jump to the highest level since 2005 over this month’s U.S. Memorial Day weekend, as road travel declines.
Memorial Day, which falls on May 30 this year, is seen as the beginning of the peak U.S. gasoline-consuming period, known as summer driving season. It extends until Labor Day, which falls on Sept. 5 in 2011.
Air travelers during the holiday will jump 12 percent to 2.93 million, while trips by auto will fall 100,000 to 30.9 million, according to a forecast by the AAA, the biggest U.S. motoring organization. About 88 percent of travelers will drive to their destination.
Heating oil for June delivery climbed 2.72 cents, or 0.9 percent, to $2.9219 a gallon on the Nymex. Gasoline for June delivery rose 1.57 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $2.9417 a gallon.
U.S. refinery utilization rose 1.5 percentage points in the week ended May 13 to 83.2 percent, the highest level since May 1, the Energy Department reported this week. Utilization dropped to 79.4 percent in the week ended Feb. 18, the lowest level in a year.
Oil also rose after the U.S. Homeland Security Department said the al-Qaeda terrorist network is interested in targeting the country’s oil and gas infrastructure, though there is no “specific or imminent” threat, said Matt Chandler, a department spokesman.
The information came from materials sized by U.S. Navy SEALs during a raid that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, a U.S. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The person wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.
Oil tumbled as much as 2.5 percent in earlier trading as the German Bundesbank said growth in Europe’s largest economy will probably slow and the euro’s weakness against the dollar curbed the appeal of commodities as an alternative investment.