NEW YORK — Oil hit a new 30-month high Wednesday as the dollar declined against other major currencies and an industry survey suggested that crude supplies unexpectedly fell last week.
Benchmark West Texas Intermediate gained 26 cents at $108.60 per barrel in morning trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It jumped as high as $109.15 earlier in the day — the highest since September 2008.
Prices have climbed for several weeks as the Libyan rebellion forced the oil-rich country to shut down most of its exports, and energy traders worried about future supplies from the region. Libya produced nearly 2 percent of the world’s oil, and an extended shutdown could threaten production ability of other OPEC members that are covering some of the shortage.
Gasoline pump prices have followed oil higher, climbing above $3.71 per gallon, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. Pump prices have increased nearly 64 cents per gallon since the beginning of the year. They’re now more than $4 per gallon in California, Hawaii and Alaska.
Oil prices rose after the American Petroleum Institute reported that U.S. crude supplies fell by 2.8 million barrels last week. Analysts expected an increase of 1.3 million barrels. The Energy Department will release its report on supplies Wednesday morning.
The dollar, which tends to move in the opposite direction from oil, lost ground against foreign currencies. The euro climbed to a 15-month high against the dollar a day before the European Central Bank was expected to increase interest rates.
Oil is priced in dollars, and it has historically risen while the dollar falls and makes crude barrels cheaper for investors holding foreign currency.
In other Nymex trading for May contracts, heating oil added 2.37 cents at $3.2087 per gallon and gasoline futures lost a penny at $3.1921 per gallon. Natural gas lost 2 cents at $4.207 per 1,000 cubic feet.
In London, Brent crude rose 71 cents to $122.60 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange.