Another Record High for Crude Oil Prices

Oil futures have surpassed the once unthinkable price of $120 a barrel.

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Oil futures have surpassed the once unthinkable price of $120 a barrel.

Against that backdrop, analysts say there is little that U.S. officials can do to moderate the surging price of oil. And most—if not all—mainstream economists ridicule (or worse) the gas-tax-holiday proposals put forward by presidential hopefuls John McCain and Hillary Clinton as a costly political gesture that would provide little if any real savings to motorists.

Oil reached its latest milestone on a mix of threats to overseas crude oil supplies. A threat by Kurdish rebels in Iraq to attack American interests has investors concerned. And an attack on an oil facility in Nigeria cut oil supplies. Meanwhile, defiant comments by Iranian leaders about the country's nuclear program raised worries about broader conflict in the Middle East.

Light, sweet crude for May delivery rose to a trading record of $120.21 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The falling dollar is also sending crude prices higher.