Crude oil prices slipped to less than $98 a barrel Thursday on the New York Mercantile Exchange, as the demand for oil and gasoline appears to be falling.
The Energy Information Administration said Wednesday that U.S. oil consumption had declined 7.1 percent in September, compared with 2007. Gasoline consumption also declined, down 4.5 percent, EIA said.
The lack of a bailout plan in Washington has also put downward pressure on oil prices, as investors conclude a bailout would prop up economies and increase demand.
On Thursday, crude oil prices fell 0.88 cents to $97.65 per barrel. Heating oil prices fell 0.0294 cents to $2.8175 per gallon. Reformulated blendstock gasoline fell 0.022 cents to $2.338 per gallon. Natural gas prices slid 0.033 cents to $7.695 per million British thermal units.
At the pump, the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline was $3.598 Thursday, down from Wednesday's $3.619 a gallon, AAA said.