Oil jumps as US picks a president

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By SAMANTHA BOMKAMP, Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — The price of oil jumped the most in a month Tuesday as investors, along with voters across the country, awaited the results of the U.S. presidential election.

Benchmark crude rose $3.06, or 3.5 percent, to finish at $88.71 in New York.

But it's still a far cry from the rise in oil the last time U.S. presidential ballots were cast in the midst of the financial crisis. Crude gained more than 10 percent on Nov. 4, 2008, as the Dow Jones industrial average rallied 305 points. On election day in 2000, the most hotly contested election in U.S. history, oil gained a more modest 1.6 percent.

What the market is signaling about the election's outcome is unclear. Analyst Phil Flynn said an Obama administration in favor of tougher regulations could boost oil prices by making it tougher to boost production. But a Republican administration that supports major oil companies could also, in theory, lead to higher prices.

Other factors may have boosted oil Tuesday. Traders are still assessing the full impact of Superstorm Sandy on gasoline supplies and fuel demand in the Northeast. One major refinery owned by Phillips 66 remains offline. And Greece holds a critical vote this week on a new austerity package that will impose further wage and benefit cuts.

Brent crude, which is used to price international varieties of oil, surged $3.34, or 3.1 percent, to $111.07 in London.

Meanwhile, most drivers are continuing to get a break at the pump. The national average for gasoline fell nearly a penny to $3.46 a gallon. The price of gas has fallen 4 percent in a week and 9 percent since last month.

Other futures also rose in New York trading:

— Wholesale gasoline rose 8 cents to $2.70 a gallon.

— Heating oil rose 7 cents to $3.05 a gallon.

— Natural gas rose 6 cents $3.62 per 1,000 cubic feet.

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