New hurricane sends crude prices higher

New hurricane sends crude prices higherCrude oil prices were higher Tuesday on the possibility that Hurricane Gustav could hit oil-producing regions in the Gulf of Mexico.

Some forecasters believe that Gustav, now a Category 1 hurricane, could strengthen to a Category 4 or Category 5 storm if it enters the Gulf of Mexico after it hits Haiti and Cuba.

October contracts for West Texas Intermediate crude were up $1.17 to $116.28 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange while Brent crude for October delivery gained 43 cents to $114.46 per barrel.

Nymex September gasoline futures were 9 cents higher to $2.972 per gallon while at-the-pump prices in the United States fell another cent to $3.672 per gallon on average nationally, but it could go up again before Labor Day if it looks likely that the hurricane will threaten oil platforms.

Natural gas futures added 49 cents to $8.43 per million British thermal units in afternoon trade.

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