Oil tops $126 a barrel for first time

Oil tops $126 a barrel for first time

Oil prices surged past $126 a barrel for the first time, capping a week of record highs, amid concerns that a possible confrontation between the U.S. and Venezuela could cut exports from the key South American oil producer.

Light, sweet crude for June delivery vaulted to a new record of $126.20 on the New York Mercantile Exchange before retreating to settle up $2.27 at a record $125.96. Prices finished the week nearly $10 higher than where they began.

Prices at the pump also set new highs. The national average price of a gallon of regular gas jumped 2.6 cents overnight to a record $3.671 a gallon, according to a survey of stations by AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. Diesel prices also rose.

In other Nymex trading Friday, June gasoline futures rose 6.34 cents to settle at a record $3.2012 a gallon after rising to their own record of $3.2038. Heating oil for June delivery rose 12.62 cents to settle at $3.636 on the Nymex after earlier setting a trading record of $3.6524. Natural gas futures rose 27.4 cents to settle at $11.537 per 1,000 cubic feet after earlier hitting a record $11.569.

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