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Oil prices rise to $108.47; gas follows

High gasoline prices in Vermont yesterday. High gasoline prices in Vermont yesterday. (Toby Talbot/ Associated Press)
Associated Press / April 5, 2011

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NEW YORK — The price of oil jumped to a fresh 30-month high, above $108 a barrel yesterday as fighting in Libya and unrest in the Middle East continued to raise doubts about future supplies.

Benchmark crude for May delivery gained 53 cents to settle at $108.47 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. At one point the contract rose as high as $108.78 per barrel, the highest price since September 2008. Gasoline pump prices have followed oil higher and remain at record levels for this time of year.

Energy traders are watching the standoff in Libya, where forces loyal to Moammar Khadafy control most of the western half of the OPEC nation. In Yemen, security forces opened fire on protesters in another violent antigovernment skirmish.

One analyst said sagging US demand may eventually pull oil prices down from their highs this year, but so far most traders seem to be waiting for the Middle East to cool off.