Crude Oil futures rose Wednesday after a government report showed US gasoline demand hit a 10-month high. Light sweet crude for July delivery settled 73 cents, or 1%, higher at $77.67 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, its highest close since May 10.
US gasoline demand rose by 144,000 barrels a day last week, to 9.338 million barrels a day, according to a US Energy Information Administration (EIA) report. The growth coincides with the beginning of the US driving season signaling that the seasonal increase in US gasoline consumption is taking hold as summer vacationing begins. Oil prices were also aided by a better-than-expected US industrial production report.
With the US driving season ahead, and if concerns regarding the stability of the euro zone's regional economy continue to ease, crude prices are likely heading to $80 a barrel as confidence in the consistency of the economic recovery grows.