Oil gains on optimism about the global economy; pump prices rise over weekend

03/19/2012 12:33 EDT | Updated 05/19/2012 05:12 EDT
NEW YORK, N.Y. - Oil prices rose above US$108 per barrel as optimism grows about a strengthening global economy.

A private survey of the U.S. homebuilding industry on Monday found that companies are increasingly hopeful that home sales will rise in coming months. International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde also said over the weekend that the global economy has "stepped back from the brink."

A pipeline company also is getting closer to opening a new transportation route to the Gulf Coast, relieving a glut of oil in the Midwest that has depressed the price of U.S. crude compared with international varieties.

Benchmark U.S. crude added $1.03 to end the day at $108.09 per barrel in New York. The price has increased by nearly $3 per barrel in the last two trading days.

Brent crude, which prices oil imported by U.S. refineries, fell by 10 cents to finish at $125.71 per barrel in London.

Meanwhile, retail gasoline in the U.S. increased more than a penny over the weekend to an average $3.842 per gallon, according to auto club AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. That's the highest ever for this time of year. Gas prices have risen by nearly 57 cents per gallon since the beginning of 2012.

In Canada, the price averaged C$1.285 per litre according to, up from $1.244 a month ago and $1.218 at this time last year.

In other energy trading, natural gas rose by 2.5 cents to finish at US$2.351 per 1,000 cubic feet. Heating oil fell by 2.09 cents to end at $3.261 per gallon and gasoline futures added 1.11 cents to $3.368 per gallon.