Oil prices rise on hefty decline in US stockpiles

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The price of oil is rising after U.S. crude inventories shrank more than expected for a fourth consecutive week.

 

Benchmark oil rose 31 cents to $97.15 per barrel Wednesday in New York. Brent crude fell 5 cents to $114.59 per barrel in London.

 

The government says crude inventories totaled 360.7 million barrels last week, down 5.4 million barrels from the previous week. That’s more than twice as much as the 2-million barrel decline predicted by analysts.

The decline isn’t necessarily because of an uptick in demand. Refineries are slowing production as they switch to winter fuel blends. And imports are lower.

At the pump, the national average for gasoline fell less than a penny overnight to $3.716 per gallon. That’s about a quarter more than a month ago.