Cold weather helps push price of oil to 13-month high

Frigid temperatures across swaths of the U.S. injected new momentum into the rally in energy markets, putting West Texas Intermediate crude on course to settle above $60 a barrel for the first time since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, bucking oil recovery predictions.

WTI crude futures gained 1.8% to hit $60.53 a barrel this morning, extending their advance in 2021 to 25%. Brent crude, the international benchmark, climbed 1.2% to hit a 13-month high of $63.20 a barrel in London. Natural gas futures at Henry Hub in Louisiana were up 3.3% at $3.01 per million British thermal units, according to The Wall Street Journal

The fresh leg in the energy market’s recovery from the coronavirus shock came as a blast of cold weather boosted demand for power and fuel, while threatening to knock oil production in Texas. Some analysts think investors have pushed oil prices above levels justified by supply and demand, but others expect them to remain buoyant.

Higher crude prices are feeding through to more expensive gasoline at the pump. Gasoline prices rose for a fifth consecutive week to a national average of $2.45 a gallon on Feb. 8, their highest level in more than a year, according to GasBuddy, which tracks retail fuel prices. Drivers should expect gasoline prices to keep rising in the months ahead, says Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at the firm. Read the full story.