Energy futures soared on Wednesday following the Fed's half-point rate cut yesterday and new inventory data that surfaced.

Dealers were also enthused upon learning of a diminishing storm threat to oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.

The National Hurricane Center said a tropical disturbance near Florida was on its way, but computer models showed that it would have little impact to oil operations in the area.

Light, sweet crude for October delivery rose 9 cents to $81.60 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange after hitting a new trading high of $82.51 earlier. October gasoline rose 0.81 cent to $2.0684 a gallon.

Heating oil futures fell 1.59 cents to $2.2264 a gallon and Nymex natural gas futures fell 29 cents to $6.278 per 1,000 cubic feet.

The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration reported that crude inventories fell by 3.8 million barrels during the week ended Sept. 14. Crude inventories remain at the upper end of their average range for this time of year, the EIA said.

Gasoline supplies rose by 400,000 barrels, the EIA said, countering analyst predictions of a 1.3 million-barrel decline.

Refinery utilization fell by 0.9 percentage point to 89.6 percent of capacity. Analysts expected a decline of 0.5 percentage point.

Distillate inventories, which include heating oil and diesel fuel, rose by 1.5 million barrels, above the 1.1 million analysts expected.