Oil closed at $52.02 a barrel on Wednesday, Oct. 6, another
record high on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The price of crude
oil closed above $50 a barrel for the first time Friday, Oct. 1, and rose to
close at $51.09 Tuesday, Oct. 5.
Media outlets and
analysts continued to attribute the sky-high price to reduced U.S. output, a
drop caused by damage to production facilities in the Gulf of Mexico in the
wake of several hurricanes. But the price has been pushed up recently by a
combination of factors – in addition to the hurricane activity – ranging from
unrest in oil-producing Nigeria and increased demand from China to damage to
oil facilities from insurgent attacks in Iraq.
Diesel is already running at $2 or more a gallon in every
region of the United States, and winter heating oil season – which often
competes with diesel for available crude – is just around the corner.