NEW YORK — The price of oil barely budged Monday after falling sharply last week on ample supplies and muted demand.
Benchmark U.S. crude for December delivery rose 1 cent to close at $94.62 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
At the gas pump, the average U.S. price for a gallon of gasoline dropped to $3.25, the lowest since Dec. 26. Gasoline is on average 11 cents cheaper than a month ago and 22 cents more than at this time last year. In Houston Monday, the average was $2.982 a gallon, down from $2.985 Sunday, according to AAA.
Ample supplies of crude have weighed on the price in recent weeks. The Energy Department said Wednesday that U.S. supplies increased 4.1 million barrels in the previous week. Over five weeks, supplies rose by more than 25 million barrels.
U.S. refineries are undergoing fall maintenance, which has crimped demand for crude.
“We are now at the nadir of the fall refinery maintenance season. Within the next couple of weeks demand will return to the market. To this effect, the return of refinery demand could help support values at current levels,” Schork Report analysts said in an energy markets commentary.
Brent crude, a benchmark for international crude also used by U.S. refineries, was down 50 cents at $105.41 on the ICE futures exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading on Nymex:
— Wholesale gasoline lost 2 cents to $2.53 a gallon.
— Heating oil dropped 1 cent to $2.87 a gallon.
— Natural gas shed 7 cents to $3.45 per 1,000 cubic feet.