The oil price gusher continues.
U.S. crude futures hit the highest levels in more than three-and-a-half years Tuesday, sending gas prices on a faster pace towards the $3 a gallon mark just days before the start of the traditional summer driving season.
Global oil prices have been on a seemingly relentless march so far this year as investors re-set expectations for supply from key producers amid threats of U.S. sanctions linked to Iran’s alleged violations of a previous nuclear treaty and a disputed Presidential election in Venezuela. Collectively, the sanctions could take a further 250,000 to 500,000 barrels of crude from the market each day, pushing prices even high amid a broader OPEC agreement, first signed in December 2016, that has trimmed output by 1.8 million barrels each day until at least the end of the year.
West Texas Intermediate crude futures for June delivery were marked 37 cents higher from their Monday closing levels in New York and changing hands at $72.72 per barrel, the highest since November 2014, extending its year-to-date gain to 20.35%. U.S. gasoline prices have reacted in kind, rising from $2.50 a gallon in late February to a national average of $2.94 a gallon, according to gasbuddy.com, also the highest since November 2014.
Brent crude prices for July delivery, the global benchmark, were seen 60 cents higher at $79.82 per barrel in early European trading.