Oil neared the $75 per barrel mark in early trading on the
New York Mercantile Exchange on Wednesday, May 3, but fell back to $73.10 per
barrel by midday.
The Associated Press reported that analysts credited
the drop to a report from the Department of Energy showing that gasoline demand
has remained flat for the past four weeks and that fuel supplies are growing as
refinery output increases.
Still, prices are not expected to drop too much as tensions
with Iran, unrest in Nigeria and increasing global demand will keep them above
$70 per barrel, The AP reported.
The report suggests, however, that high fuel prices may be
curbing demand for gasoline among passenger car drivers.
The AP reported that average daily gasoline demand
during the past four weeks in the U.S. has been about 9.127 million barrels per
day, not much higher than the 9.125 million barrels a day demand from a year
The Energy Department report showed that, since the
beginning of the year, average daily demand has been just about 9 million
barrels per day, slightly lower than 2005.